Democrat Hillary Clinton opens an 8-point lead over Republican Donald Trump in Florida, the largest of the presidential swing states, and erases a small Trump lead to create a dead heat in Ohio, while Pennsylvania remains too close to call, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released Tuesday.
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a long shot for the Democratic presidential nomination, runs markedly better than Clinton in head-to-head matchups with Trump in Ohio and Pennsylvania, the poll found.
The Swing State Poll focuses on Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania because since 1960 no candidate has won the presidential race without taking at least two of these three states.
The presidential matchups show:
Florida - Clinton over Trump 47 - 39 percent, compared to 43 - 42 percent May 10. Sanders tops Trump 45 - 39 percent.
Ohio - Clinton and Trump tied 40 - 40 percent, compared to a small 43 - 39 percent Trump lead May 10. Sanders leads Trump 48 - 38 percent.
Pennsylvania - Clinton at 42 percent to Trump's 41 percent, virtually unchanged from the 43 - 42 percent lean to Clinton May 10. Sanders tops Trump 47 - 40 percent. With third party candidates in the race, results are:
Florida - Clinton tops Trump 42 - 36 percent, with 7 percent for Libertarian Gary Johnson and 3 percent for Green Party candidate Jill Stein;
Ohio - Clinton at 38 percent, with Trump at 36 percent, Johnson at 8 percent and Stein at 3 percent;
Pennsylvania - Clinton at 39 percent to Trump's 36 percent, with 9 percent for Johnson and 4 percent for Stein.
"Secretary Hillary Clinton is pulling ahead in Florida, but the pictures in Ohio and Pennsylvania are much less clear," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll, in a prepared statement.
"The at-times bitter verbal battles between Trump and some Republicans leaders is showing in these numbers. In these three key states, Clinton is doing better, and in the case of Florida much better, among Democrats than Trump is among Republicans. Traditionally GOP presidential candidates score better on this party loyalty test."
By wide margins, voters in each state say Clinton is better prepared than Trump to be president; that she is more intelligent than Trump and that she has higher moral standards.
Voters are divided on whether Trump is more honest and trustworthy than Clinton and voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania find him more inspiring.
Trump's comments about a judge of Mexican descent are racist, voters in each state say by wide margins.