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Donald Trump speaks at a March rally in Fountain Hills, Arizona. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/cc/flickr)

Donald Trump speaks at a March rally in Fountain Hills, Arizona. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/cc/flickr)

'Trustworthy' Trump? Plagued by Email Controversy, Clinton's Lead Plummets

New polling finds that the presumptive GOP nominee is ahead in two of three key swing states

Lauren McCauley

The race between the two presidential frontrunners remains too close to call in the final stretch leading to the two major party conventions, as new polling shows that Donald Trump has overtaken Hillary Clinton in key battleground states while her national lead has shrunk to just three points.

A McClatchy-Marist survey released Wednesday found that in a head-to-head match-up, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is currently ahead 42 to 39, which McClatchy notes, marks the first time that support for Clinton has dropped beneath 50 percentage points.

At the same time, likely Republican nominee Trump is now leading in Florida and Pennsylvania, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll, while the two remain locked in a tight race in Ohio. Since 1960, no candidate has won the presidency without winning at least two of those states.

In Florida, support for Clinton dropped 8 points since June 21, when she was ahead 47-39 percent. She now trails Trump by three points.

She also lost her lead in Pennsylvania, where voters now back Trump 43 to 41 percent, compared to June 21 when Clinton had 42 to Trump's 41 percent.

And in Ohio the two continue to be locked in a tie with 41 percent each, which is just a slight change from the June 21 result, which found a 40-40 percent tie.

Both polls attributed Clinton's slip to the recent controversy over the FBI's recommendation not to charge the former secretary of state for her "extremely careless" handling of classified material through the use of a private email server.

"While there is no definite link between Clinton's drop in Florida and the U.S. Justice Department decision not to prosecute her for her handling of e-mails, she has lost ground to Trump on questions which measure moral standards and honesty," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

The billionaire real estate mogul is perceived to be "more honest and trustworthy" than Clinton in each of those swing states. In fact, he now leads in that category by double digits in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

"The good news for Hillary Clinton is that despite a very rough week, she still has a narrow edge" in the national poll, said Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion in New York, which conducted the survey. "The bad news is these issues don’t seem to be going away."

The results are slightly different, though no less troubling for the Democratic Party, when third-party candidates are considered.

In Florida, Trump's lead grows to five points (41-36 percent) as seven percent of voters there back Libertarian Gary Johnson and four percent go for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, according to the Quinnipiac survey.

The four-way race also buoys the GOP in Pennsylvania, where Trump takes 40 percent to Clinton's 34 percent. Nine percent of Pennsylvania voters support Johnson while three percent say they would vote for Stein.

The additional candidates also shake up the Ohio tie, where Trump overtakes Clinton 37 to 36 percent as seven percent of voters back Johnson and six percent go for Stein.

Nationally, McClatchy finds that Clinton fares somewhat better in the four-way race, topping Trump 40 to 35 percent, with Johnson winning 10 percent of the vote while Stein wins five percent.

As the Quinnipiac survey was conducted June 30-July 11 and the McClatchy poll began on July 5, the results did not reflect voters opinions' after Clinton's Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders, endorsed her candidacy on Tuesday.

As Miringoff noted, the upcoming conventions "are really important" for both parties to secure the many voters who, as McClatchy put it, "are not solely being drawn to these candidates," but who "are often driven as much by their dislike of the opposition."

Many predict that the upcoming conventions, which are being held in important battleground states, will be highly contentious. The Republican National Convention will be next week, in Cleveland, Ohio on July 18-21, and the Democratic Party will convene in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from July 25-28.

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