- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 20, 2015

Billionaire businessman Donald Trump is leading the Republican field in the swing states of Florida and Pennsylvania and is running second to native son Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the Buckeye State, according to polling released Thursday by Quinnipiac University.

Mr. Trump was the choice of 21 percent of Republicans in Florida, followed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 17 percent and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 11 percent apiece.

Mr. Trump led former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton in the state by 2 points, 43 percent to 41 percent, and led Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, one of Mrs. Clinton’s rivals, by 4 points, 45 percent to 41 percent. Mr. Trump did trail Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. by 3 points, 45 percent to 42 percent.

Among overall voters, Mr. Trump had a negative 36 percent/50 percent favorable/unfavorable split and voters said by a 53 percent to 39 percent margin that he is not honest and trustworthy.

In Pennsylvania, Mr. Trump was at 24 percent among Republicans, followed by Mr. Carson at 13 percent and Mr. Rubio at 10 percent.

Overall, he had a negative 34 percent/55 percent favorable/unfavorable split in Pennsylvania and voters, by a 53 percent to 40 percent margin, said he is not honest and trustworthy. He trailed Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Biden, and Mr. Sanders in head-to-head match-ups there.

In Ohio, Mr. Kasich won support from 27 percent of Republicans, followed by Mr. Trump at 21 percent and Mr. Rubio and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 7 percent apiece.

Overall, Mr. Trump had a negative 32 percent/54 percent favorable/unfavorable split in the Buckeye State and voters said he was not honest and trustworthy by a 53 percent to 37 percent margin. He also trailed Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Biden, and Mr. Sanders in head-to-head match-ups there.

“The first Republican debate mattered,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “Gov. Jeb Bush got middling debate grades and slips in the GOP horse race. Yet he does very well when voters rate the leading Republican candidates on personal characteristics. He scores best on honesty, empathy and temperament to handle an international crisis, while finishing a close second to Trump on leadership. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker gets very low debate grades and all but disappears from the Republican primary list.”

Mr. Trump has said he wants to run and win as a Republican, but that he isn’t ruling out an independent run if he fails to secure the GOP nomination and feels he isn’t being treated fairly. And the polling showed that Mrs. Clinton could end up as the beneficiary if he follows through on that threat.

Mrs. Clinton led both Mr. Bush and Mr. Trump in hypothetical three-way matchups in all three states. She was at 37 percent in Florida, followed by Mr. Bush at 36 percent and Mr. Trump at 19 percent. She led Mr. Bush by 10 points in Ohio, 37 percent to 27 percent, with Mr. Trump at 23 percent. And she led Mr. Bush by 8 points in Pennsylvania, 37 percent to 29 percent, with Mr. Trump at 24 percent.

From August 7-18, Quinnipiac University surveyed:

• 1,093 Florida voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The survey includes 477 Republicans with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

• 1,096 Ohio voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The survey includes 371 Republicans with a margin of error of plus or minus 5.1 percentage points.

• 1,085 Pennsylvania voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The survey includes 443 Republicans with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.7 percentage points.

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