- The Washington Times - Friday, July 15, 2016

Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump in four states shaping up to be key battlegrounds in 2016, according to polling released Friday.

Mrs. Clinton led Mr. Trump by 8 points in Colorado, 43 percent to 35 percent, and she led by 7 points in Florida, 44 percent to 37 percent, according to NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls.

She also led Mr. Trump by 6 points in North Carolina, 44 percent to 38 percent, and she led by 9 points in Virginia, 44 percent to 35 percent.

“With 66 electoral votes at stake in these four states, Donald Trump is playing catch-up against Hillary Clinton,” says Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

President Obama carried Colorado, Florida and Virginia in both 2008 and 2012. But Colorado and Florida had largely broken Republican in recent presidential elections prior to 2008, and until that year, Virginia hadn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964.

Mr. Obama carried North Carolina in 2008 — the first time since 1976 the state broke for a Democratic presidential candidate — but lost the state in 2012.

Mrs. Clinton’s leads over Mr. Trump in the four states were comparable when Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein were added to the mix.

Florida’s U.S. Senate race was competitive, with GOP Sen. Marco Rubio leading Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy by 3 points, 47 percent to 44 percent. Businessman Carlos Beruff is also running on the Republican side and Rep. Alan Grayson is challenging Mr. Murphy on the Democratic side.

In Colorado, incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet had a 15-point, 53 percent to 38 percent lead over Republican challenger Darryl Glenn.

In North Carolina, incumbent GOP Sen. Richard Burr had a 7-point, 48 percent to 41 percent lead over Democrat Deborah Ross.

But in North Carolina’s gubernatorial race, Democrat Roy Cooper had a 4-point, 49 percent to 45 percent lead over Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

The polls were conducted from July 5-11.

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