Hillary Clinton could have a swing-state problem.
In 2008 and 2012, Colorado, Virginia, and Iowa all went for President Obama, assuring his victories in both contests.
But in the last few months, according to data from Quinnipiac University, the states have turned on this go-round's presumptive Democratic nominee. Hillary Clinton lost all three against Obama during the 2008 primary season, and since February she's lost steam in each state against three top potential Republican opponents.
Though we're still a year out until each party's nominating conventions—and horse-race polling now is not to be 100 percent trusted—Clinton will need to fight these seemingly downward-heading trend lines if she wants to feel comfortable going into a possible post-primary season.
Here, a look at how she's fared since Quinnipiac's February poll.
In February, before Clinton had launched her campaign, she was beating Jeb Bush 44-36—an advantage more than twice the poll's 3-point margin of error, the mark of a true lead. Though she edged out Scott Walker 42-40, her "win" was firmly within the margin of error, making the race a virtual tie against a candidate with significantly lower name recognition. By April, the polls began to close in on Clinton, and Quinnipiac added Marco Rubio to the mix. She lost her firm lead against Bush, which was now at 41-38, with a margin of error of 3.3 points. She and Walker were just one point apart, with the Wisconsin governor at 42 points and Clinton at 41. And Clinton had a similar near-tie with Rubio, who would announce later that month. He had a one-point edge on her, 41-40.
By July, according to data released by Quinnipiac on Tuesday, Clinton had lost ground against Rubio and Walker, and fell behind Bush for the first time in months, 41-36. (Though given the poll's 3.3 MOE, Bush's ostensibly hefty lead cannot be interpreted as such.) Walker came in 9 points ahead, 47-38, and Rubio led by 8, with a final tally of 46-38.
There's been a recent rise and fall in this state for Clinton. She and Bush were exactly tied here in February, at 42 points, and she edged out Walker, 45-40; each contest had an MOE of 3 points. By April, she was beating Bush and Walker, 47-40; and trumped Rubio 48-40. All three leads were outside the poll's 3.2-point MOE.
But her fortunes shifted by July, though the gains made by her Republican opponents weren't terribly huge. She "lost"—within the poll's 2.8-point MOE—against Bush (42-39), Walker (43-40), and Rubio (43-41).
In February, Clinton dominated Bush and Walker by 10 points, 45-35. Given the poll's 3-point MOE, that's quite a comfortable lead. But in April, Clinton and Bush were practically tied, 41-40, with an MOE of 3.2 points. Walker, whose name recognition had likely grown by then, closed in on her a bit, with a final tally of 44-40. And Clinton and Rubio came in at 43-40, just ahead of his presidential announcement.
By July, all three candidates were officially in the running and firmly in the public eye, especially in a heavily invested state like early-primary Iowa. And here, where Clinton had one of her most painful primary-season losses seven years ago, those closer head-to-heads in Iowa morphed into more solid Republican wins: Bush (42-36), Walker (45-37), and Rubio (44-36)—all with an MOE of 2.8 points.
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.