New national polls released this week did little to change the current narrative of the likely general election presidential race. Both Quinnipiac and Rasmussen show Hillary Clinton with slight leads over Donald Trump (by four points and one point, respectively), though both are within or close to the margins of error.
More interesting, however, was the release of a number of state polls which show a surprisingly close race in some unexpected places.
The growing consensus among pundits, as aptly summarized in a Tuesday CNN article, is that a Trump victory over Clinton in November will require the GOP candidate to perform very well in Rust Belt states such as Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania – where he can appeal to disaffected working-class white voters – in order to make up for likely weak showings in other traditional swing states such as Florida, Virginia and Colorado – where his unpopularity with minorities will presumably hurt him.
So far, very early polling has suggested that Trump may indeed be competitive in the Rust Belt, and it also shows close races in other traditional swing states as well – RealClearPolitics’ averages show Trump down by only 2.3 points in Florida and 4.3 points in Virginia, albeit after very limited polling.
But looking beyond these states, early polling results have also shown Trump competitive in some deep blue states many pundits would normally give him no chance at winning:
- New Jersey: A Monmouth poll released Tuesday shows Trump down 4 points to Clinton. President Obama won the state in 2012 by nearly 18 points.
- Oregon: A Clout Research poll released last Friday shows Trump leading Clinton by 2 points. In 2012, Obama carried the state by 12 points.
- California: While a recent Hoover/Golden State poll shows Clinton with a solid 12 point lead over Trump, this is well below Obama’s 23-point margin of victory in 2012.
Although the usual caveats apply regarding reading too much into polling this early, especially given that Clinton has not yet officially sewn up the Democratic nomination, these numbers will still bear watching in the coming months. If Trump is indeed cutting significantly into past Republican deficits in these and other blue states, it will certainly not bode well for Clinton’s overall chances.
Paul Dupont is the managing editor for ThePulse2016.com.