Q-poll swing-state poll shows Hillary trailing Republicans in FL, OH ... and PA

Pennsylvania? The last time a Republican won the Keystone State, the Berlin Wall was still in place. Yet Hillary Clinton trails both Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio in Quinnipiac’s head-to-head matchups in today’s swing-state polling. She only trails Rubio in Ohio, the must-win state for Republicans, and loses to all three in Florida if the race were held today.

And watch out for … Joe Biden. Or not:

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are clear winners in the Democratic and Republican primaries in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, but Vice President Joseph Biden runs as well as or better than Clinton against top Republicans in general election matchups in these key swing states, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released today.

While they lead in the race for the nomination, Clinton and Trump have the worst overall favorability ratings among all voters of any of the leading candidates, and the lowest scores for being honest and trustworthy, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds. 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.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida both run better than Trump against Clinton, Biden or U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

The samples in all three states top 1,000 voters, so they’re solid enough, as one would expect from Quinnipiac, and it’s bad news for Democrats on a couple of levels. First, Hillary has stronger name recognition, which should be a net plus at this stage of a campaign, but it’s clearly dragging on her numbers even before people get another good look at her. Given what we know about her skills as a retail politician, this is a disaster for Democrats. They needed her to dominate at this point, and instead she’s getting pushed out of position by a Bush and a Trump … and a first-term Senator. Talk about deja vu all over again…

Also, this slippage is occurring in the context of fractious Republican infighting. Donald Trump’s sustained presence has split Republicans, and in some cases bitterly, which should help the other party, especially when there isn’t much credible competition for their nomination. (Despite Quinnipiac running head-to-heads for Biden and Sanders, Hillary runs 25+ points ahead of them among Democratic voters in all three states.) Hillary’s losing even against a backdrop of a bitter (if likely short-lived) fraternal row in the GOP. A failure in this context is remarkable; imagine what Ohio, Florida, and even Pennsylvania will look like once Republicans unite behind one candidate.

This is no fluke, either. Hillary’s favorability rating is -18 in Ohio and Florida, and -17 in Pennsylvania, with solid majorities seeing her unfavorably (55%, 54%, 55%, respectively). Her positives don’t even scrape the underbelly of 40%. Trump’s numbers are even worse, except in Florida, where he’s at -14. On honest and trustworthy, though, Hillary far outpaces Trump to the negative; she’s at 32/64 in Florida, 34/60 in Ohio, and 32/63 in Pennsylvania, where Democrats have a significant registration advantage and a six-cycle winning streak in presidential elections.

There’s also this:

So much for the Obama coalition with those numbers.

Assuming Republicans can unite successfully behind a single candidate, they’re in decent shape in these swing states. Whether that assumption proves true is yet to be seen, however, and to some extent that depends on what happens to Trump backers. In this poll he draws between 19% and 23% as a third-party candidate, but that’s so hypothetical that it’s not a serious metric. What is serious is the need to speak to those who are clearly unhappy with the GOP and see Trump as a way to force the party to pay attention to their issues, or at least speak more boldly and deliver on their promises.

This poll points out a more subtle issue. Some of those who back Trump have argued that opposing him is a vote for Jeb Bush, but Bush isn’t the one being damaged by Trump. That makes sense, given the resources Bush accumulated early in the race. These numbers suggest that Trump is actually squeezing out the other candidates that might have gained traction against Bush, like Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, and especially Rand Paul, who tried a frontal attack on Trump in the last debate and is paying the price now. Rubio is an exception, but he’s about the only one. The longer Trump stays in the race and dominates it, the more that this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and all of the other non-Bush candidates get squeezed to the margins. If Trump then implodes or just decides to hang it up, all that will be left is Bush and a few barely visible alternatives.