With a total of 44 electoral votes hanging in the balance in the key battleground states of Iowa, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine are closely matched with Republicans Donald Trump and Mike Pence in Iowa. The Democrats edge the Republicans in Ohio. Clinton and Kaine have a wider lead over Trump and Pence in Pennsylvania.
In Iowa, Clinton, 41%, edges Trump, 37%, by 4 points among registered voters in a two-way matchup. When NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist last reported this question before the Republican and Democratic conventions, Clinton received 42% to 39% for Trump. In a four-way contest including Libertarian Gary Johnson and Jill Stein of the Green Party, Clinton and Trump are tied at 35%. Of note, Johnson receives double-digit support, 12%, among registered voters in Iowa. Of the three states, Stein does best in the Hawkeye State with 6%.
In Ohio, Clinton is up over Trump, 43% to 38%, among the statewide electorate. Last month, Clinton and Trump were tied with 39% each. Clinton maintains a similar advantage over Trump when Johnson and Stein are included in the tossup. Johnson receives double-digit support, 12%, statewide. Stein has the backing of 4%.
In Pennsylvania, Clinton, 48%, has an 11 point lead over Trump, 37%, among registered voters statewide. Previously, Clinton had a 9 point advantage over Trump, 45% to 36%. Little changes in the contest when Johnson and Stein are added into the equation.
Clinton has made some gains among moderates. In Iowa, Clinton’s edge over Trump has only inched up from 17 points to 20 points. But, in Ohio, Clinton now leads Trump among moderates by 24 points, up from just 8 points last month. And, in Pennsylvania, Clinton currently outdistances Trump by 19 points among this group compared with 14 points in July.
“The convention dust has settled in these three critical battleground states,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Despite the national spotlight of the conventions focused on each candidate, Clinton and Trump have not made any headway in voters’ positive impressions of them.”
Clinton and Trump are both unpopular in Iowa, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. 57% of residents in Iowa, 60% in Ohio, and 53% of Pennsylvania residents have an unfavorable opinion of Clinton. Looking at Trump’s favorability, 64% of Iowans, 61% of Ohio residents, and 63% of those in Pennsylvania have an unfavorable opinion of him. Clinton and Trump received similar scores in the July NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll.
Tim Kaine and Mike Pence are still not well known in each of these states. In Iowa, 45% of residents have either never heard of Kaine, 14%, or are unsure how to rate him 31%. 31% of adults statewide have a favorable opinion of Kaine while 24% have an unfavorable one. In Ohio, Kaine has low name recognition among 42% of adults who have either never heard of him, 16%, or are unsure how to rate him, 26%. More than three in ten residents in Ohio, 32%, have a positive view of Kaine while 26% have a negative opinion of him. In Pennsylvania, 41% of the statewide electorate have either never heard of Kaine, 12%, or are unsure how to rate him, 29%. 36% of Pennsylvania adults think well of Kaine while 23% have an unfavorable view of him.
Turning to Pence, 41% of Iowans have either never heard of him, 14%, or are unsure how to rate him, 27%. 34% have a positive opinion of him while 25% have a negative impression of Pence. In Ohio, 37% adults have either never heard of Pence, 14%, or are unsure how to rate him, 23%. 34% of Ohio adults have a favorable opinion of him while 30% do not. In Pennsylvania, Pence is not well known to 38% of residents who have either never heard of him, 13%, or are unsure how to rate him, 25%. 34% of residents in Pennsylvania think well of Pence while 28% have an unfavorable view of him.
In the contest for U.S. Senate in Iowa, Chuck Grassley, the Republican, receives the support of 52% of registered voters to 42% for Democrat Patty Judge. Grassley maintains his advantage over Judge. In the July NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll, identical proportions of registered voters were for Grassley, 52%, and Judge, 42%.
In Ohio, Republican incumbent Rob Portman, 48%, is up over his Democratic challenger Ted Strickland, 43%, by 5 points among registered voters statewide. Last month, Portman and Strickland were tied with each receiving 44%.
In Pennsylvania, Democrat Katie McGinty, 48%, edges Republican incumbent Pat Toomey, 44%, among the statewide electorate. Previously, McGinty garnered 47% to 44% for Toomey.
Looking at the job approval rating of President Barack Obama in each of these states, the president does best in Pennsylvania. 49% of Pennsylvania residents approve of how he is doing in office. An identical 49% had this view last month. 42% of Pennsylvania adults currently disapprove of how the president is doing in office. In Iowa, 46% of residents approve of Mr. Obama’s job performance while 41% disapprove. Iowans divided, 45% to 43%, in July. In Ohio, 47% think well of President Obama’s job performance while 44% disapprove. Previously, 44% of Ohio adults approved of how the president was doing in office while 44% did not.