Story highlights

In Florida and Pennsylvania, Clinton narrowly leads Trump, 43% to 42%

In Ohio, Trump leads Clinton 43% to 39%

Washington CNN —  

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the likely general election presidential nominees, are running neck-and-neck in the battleground states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, results driven by wide gender and racial gaps among voters, a new general election poll shows.

Clinton edges Trump in Florida and Pennsylvania, while Trump leads in Ohio, according to the Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday.

In both Florida and Pennsylvania the poll shows Clinton narrowly over Trump, 43% to 42%. In Ohio, Trump leads Clinton 43% to 39%.

“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,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll, in a memo accompanying the poll results.

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The poll also tested general election matchups between Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders, who currently trails Clinton, for their party’s nomination. Sanders fares slightly better than Clinton in all three states, even topping Trump in Ohio, 43%-41%.

For Clinton and Trump, wide gaps in support among women and men and minorities drive the close contests.

In all three swing states, Clinton leads Trump among women by nine or more points, while Trump wins men by double-digits. And while white voters consistently favor Trump, non-white voters back Clinton by huge margins.

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“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.”

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Both Clinton and Trump are plagued by high unfavorability ratings among voters in each state.

Majorities of voters in the states say Trump would do a better job handling the economy, and in Florida and Ohio, voters said he would be the best dealing with terrorism.

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Clinton, voters in all three states said, is more intelligent and has higher moral standards than Trump. Majorities in all three states also say the former secretary of state has the temperament to handle an international crisis.

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.