In the race for the White House, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine are ahead of Republicans Donald Trump and Mike Pence in the battleground states of Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia.
Clinton has made her largest gains in Colorado where Clinton, 46%, leads Trump, 32%, by 14 points among registered voters statewide. This is up from the 8 point lead Clinton, 43%, had over Trump, 35%, in the July NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll released prior to the Republican and Democratic conventions. Looking at the four-way contest including Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Clinton is still well-positioned to take Colorado’s 9 electoral votes. Clinton has the support of 41% of voters compared with 29% for Trump, 15% for Johnson, and 6% for Stein. Last month, Clinton, 39%, had a 6 point advantage over Trump, 33%, in the four-way contest. The support for Johnson and Stein is little changed from that time when Johnson garnered 13%, and Stein had 4%.
With 29 electoral votes at stake in Florida, Clinton has the support of 44% of registered voters to 39% for Trump. Previously, Clinton, 44%, had a 7 point lead over Trump, 37%, in the Sunshine State. In the four-way race, Clinton, 41%, maintains her 5 point lead over Trump, 36%. Johnson and Stein receive 9% and 4%, respectively. Little has changed in the four-way contest in Florida since July.
In North Carolina where 15 electoral votes hang in the balance, Clinton, 48%, is ahead of Trump, 39%, by 9 points among the statewide electorate. This is up slightly from 6 points last month when Clinton received 44% to 38% for Trump. When Johnson and Stein are included, Clinton receives 45% to 36% for Trump. Johnson has 9%, and Stein receives 2%. The four candidates garnered similar support in the previous NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll.
In the hunt for Virginia’s 13 electoral votes, Clinton, 46%, outdistances Trump, 33%, among registered voters statewide. Since adding Virginia Senator Tim Kaine to the ticket, Clinton has increased her lead from 9 points in last month’s survey to 13 points now. At that time, Clinton had 44% to 35% for Trump. In the four-way contest, Clinton, 43%, is ahead of Trump, 31%, by a similar 12 points. 12% are behind Johnson, and 5% back Stein. In July, Clinton, 41%, had a 7 point advantage over Trump, 34%. Johnson and Stein garnered, 10% and 2%, respectively.
“These are supposed to be battleground states, but right now, they don’t look that way,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Trump still needs to unify Republicans and better position himself among traditional GOP groups in order to make the contest competitive in these must-win states.”
In each of these four states, Clinton does better among her Democratic base than Trump does among his Republican core. With the exception of Florida, Clinton is ahead of Trump among white voters with a college education. In states where Clinton has improved her standing, she has made inroads among men.
“Not surprisingly, a wide gender gap is present in each of these four states,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Of note, however, Clinton receives the support of at least 40 percent of male voters, but Trump is not getting 40 percent among female voters.”
The favorable ratings of both Clinton and Trump remain upside down in each of these four states. However, Clinton’s negatives are in the 50’s while Trumps are in the 60’s. 59% of Colorado residents, 52% of Florida adults, 54% of those in North Carolina, and 54% of Virginians have a negative opinion of Clinton. Clinton’s net negative has decreased in Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia since last time.
Looking at Trump’s scores, 69% of Colorado adults, 64% of Floridians, 62% of North Carolina residents, and 66% of those in Virginia have a negative view of him. Trump received similar unfavorable scores in last month’s NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll in these four states.
Looking at the favorable rating of Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine, he scores well in his home state of Virginia. A majority, 52%, have a favorable opinion of Kaine while 31% have an unfavorable view of him. Kaine is not well known to notable proportions of residents in Colorado, Florida, and North Carolina. Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate, is also little known to notable proportions of adults in each of these states.
In the contest for U.S. Senate in Colorado, Democrat Michael Bennet, 53%, leads Republican Darryl Glenn, 38%, by 15 points among registered voters statewide. Previously, Bennet had the identical 15 point lead over Glenn.
In a hypothetical contest for U.S. Senate in Florida, Marco Rubio, 49%, bests Democrat Patrick Murphy, 43%, by 6 points among registered voters statewide. Last month, Rubio and Murphy were competitive, 47% to 44%, respectively.
In North Carolina, Democrat Deborah Ross, 46%, and Republican Richard Burr, 44%, are closely matched among the state’s electorate. Previously, Burr, 48%, led Ross, 41%, by 7 points.
In the race for North Carolina governor, Democrat Roy Cooper, 51%, leads Republican Pat McCrory, 44%, by 7 points among registered voters. In July, Cooper, 49%, and McCrory, 45%, were competitive.
In all four states, President Barack Obama’s job approval rating is at least 50% among residents. 53% of Colorado adults, compared with 50% last month, approve of the job President Obama is doing in office. In Florida, 51% of adults think the president is doing a good job in office. 49% of Floridians had this view previously. The perception of the president’s job performance in North Carolina is at 50% similar to 49% last month. 52% of residents in Virginia approve of President Obama’s job performance. Last month, 49% of Virginians had this view.
“It’s a tall order for a sitting president to pass the baton to a member of his own party,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “President Obama is actively trying to do just that, and his improved approval rating is boosting that effort.”