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Poll: 2016 GOP Contenders Pull Even With Hillary in Fla., Ohio

Hillary Clinton no longer leads every Republican challenger in the critical swing state of Ohio, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll, which also found the former secretary of state facing real competition in Florida ahead of the 2016 presidential campaign, CNN reports.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and sitting Gov. John Kasich of Ohio are each statistically tied with Clinton, the presumptive Democratic front runner, in their respective home states, according to a Quinnipiac survey of three swing states published on Tuesday.
One year ago this month, Quinnipiac found Clinton

with a commanding lead over the entire Republican field in Ohio. In match-ups against eight possible GOP opponents, including Kasich, Clinton led among registered Ohio voters by no fewer than nine percentage points.
Today, if Kasich is Clinton’s opponent, that lead all but disappears, with Clinton at 44 percent support compared to Kasich’s 43 percent.
Likewise in Florida, Clinton and Bush are essentially tied, 44-43 percent, and overall, Gov. Bush “runs best of any Republican listed against Clinton,” Quinnipiac reports, in the three states polled: Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
“No candidate has won the presidency since 1960 without winning two of those three crucial states,” Qunnipiac reports.
In Pennsylvania, Clinton so far is not facing a comparable challenge. She holds a 20-point lead over a native son, former Sen. Rick Santorum, and leads Gov. Chris Christie of neighboring New Jersey by 11 points.
Clinton, a former U.S. senator from New York, has yet to say she will run. Given the strength of her overall poll numbers, she faces “little pressure from within her own party to hit the campaign trail” yet, said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
But some Democrats have argued otherwise.
“If Hillary Clinton is not careful, she’s going to be defined by her opponents on the right, and that’s extremely dangerous,” David Goodfriend, a campaign strategist and former deputy staff Secretary to President Bill Clinton, told Newsmax TV on Friday.
“And even though she’s riding very high in public opinion polls right now, you can’t count on that,” said Goodfriend. “That’s not momentum. That’s not message. That’s just status quo. She needs to really treat this like a fight and get in earlier rather than later.”
Brown of Qunnipiac also said that Clinton’s numbers “may drop some” once she actually enters the race. The swing state poll surveyed more than 2,700 voters total in the three states from January 22 through February 1, with a margin of error of just over 3 percent.
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