The general election is officially six months away (as of Sunday) and with Republicans finally settling on the their longtime frontrunner, Donald Trump, as their presumptive nominee within the last week and Hillary Clinton finally beging to own the title of her party's presumptive nominee that was prematurely bestowed upon her before the start of a long, contentious and still continuing Democratic battle against Bernie Sanders, pollsters are rushing to survey the landscape and a shock new poll shows the state of the race very close in May.
A new Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released Tuesday shows Clinton up by a single point in the key swing states of both Florida (43 percent to 42 percent) and Pennsylvania (43 percent to 42 percent), while Trump actually beats Clinton in Ohio by 43 percent to 39 percent.
"Six months from Election Day, the presidential races between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the three most crucial states, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, are too close to call," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll, noting that "since 1960 no candidate has won the presidential race without taking at least two of these three states."
"At this juncture, Trump is doing better in Pennsylvania than the GOP nominees in 2008 and 2012. And the two candidates are about where their party predecessors were at this point in Ohio and Florida," Brown wrote in a memo accompanying the poll results.
In all three swing states, white voters consistently favor Trump, while non-white voters back Clinton by huge margins. According to Quinnipiac's survey sampling, turnout among white voters in November is expected to beat turnout in 2012 by about 4 percent.
Clinton also leads with women in these crucial swing states by nine points or more, while Trump wins men in every state by double-digits.
"The gender gap is massive and currently benefits Trump," Brown said. "In Pennsylvania, Clinton's 19-point lead among women matches Trump's 21-point margin among men. In Ohio, she is up 7 points among women but down 15 points with men. In Florida she is up 13 points among women but down 13 points among men."
The poll surveyed 1,051 Florida voters, 1,042 Ohio voters, and 1,077 Pennsylvania voters between April 27-May 8th and each state's polling has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Of course, any poll out six months in advance of an election is less predictive and more of a snapshot of the current state of the race (a May 2008 Gallup poll found McCain beating Obama) and so far in 2016, Quinnipiac has had a less than stellar predictive record.