Don’t look now, but Donald Trump has taken the lead in critical swing states Florida and Pennsylvania, and is tied with Hillary Clinton in Ohio, new polling from Quinnipiac University shows.
The poll was conducted from June 30 to July 11.
In Florida, Clinton has dropped 8 points since the last poll was conducted on June 21, with a 47 percent to 39 percent lead now a 39 percent to 42 percent deficit.
The situation gets even worse for Clinton when third party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are included. Then Trump leads 41 percent to 36 percent.
In Ohio, Trump and Clinton both come in at 41 percent. But with third party candidates included, Trump leads 37 percent to 36 percent.
But the biggest shock in the poll comes in blue collar Pennsylvania, with Trump now up 43 percent to 41 percent.
With third party candidates in Pennsylvania, Clinton gets squashed 40 percent to 34 percent.
Ironically, Clinton appears to lose more support to Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson than Trump does.
The poll came after Trump’s major economic speech on international trade and against globalization delivered in Pittsburgh suburb Monessen on June 28. Lamenting the loss of millions of American manufacturing jobs, economic growth and production overseas, Trump struck an ambitious theme to Pennsylvanians, a state that traditionally votes Democrat in presidential elections.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to declare our economic independence once again,” Trump told an enthusiastic crowd.
To give you an idea of how important Pennsylvania is, if Trump carries all of the states Mitt Romney won in 2012, plus Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania — he will win 273 electoral votes and the presidency. Forget Virginia, Colorado, Nevada and even New Hampshire. He won’t need them.
The last time a Republican won Pennsylvania was in 1988.
The poll was also ongoing on July 5 when FBI Director James Comey issued his statement that the FBI is not recommending that Hillary Clinton be charged with any crime for storing and disseminating classified information from her private email server.
And it definitely showed up in the poll. Trump widened his lead on honesty and trustworthiness. In Florida, he leads Clinton 50 percent to 37 percent, up from 43 percent to 40 percent. In Ohio, Trump leads on honesty, 47 percent to 37 percent. In Pennsylvania, 49 percent to 34 percent.
Simply put, those numbers are devastating for Clinton, a member of the incumbent White House party. She has been the presumptive favorite in the race to date — Trump is only given a 33 percent chance of victory at Predictit.org for example — but now appears suddenly weakened.
For Trump, it gives him considerable if not surprising momentum headed into the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on July 18-21.
Perhaps the most surprising element is that it appears almost 20 percent of the electorate in these critical swing states appears to be up for grabs headed into the conventions and debates.
Meaning the heavily favored Clinton may be in for a bigger fight than almost anyone imagined just a few months ago. Trump, who has consistently beat analyst expectations, is already over performing — and we’re still a little less than 4 months away from the election. Internally, the Clinton campaign must be in a near-panic.
Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.