Clinton Leads Trump in Diverse Battleground States in New Polls

This combination of file photos shows Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton(L)on June 15, 2016 and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.DSK/AFP/Getty Images

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By Mark Murray

Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump in four of the most diverse presidential battleground states, according to brand-new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls.

Clinton is ahead of Trump by eight points among registered voters in Colorado, 43 percent to 35 percent; a combined 21 percent say neither, other or are undecided.

In Florida, which decided the 2000 presidential election, she’s up seven points, 44 percent to 37 percent; the rest are undecided or prefer someone else.

In North Carolina, a state Obama won in 2008 but lost in 2012, Clinton leads by six points, 44 percent to 38 percent.

And in Virginia, Clinton’s advantage is nine points, 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.

NBC News

Two Unpopular Candidates

Despite Clinton’s leads, she and Trump are both unpopular in these battlegrounds, although Trump is slightly more unpopular.

  • Colorado: Clinton 34 percent favorable, 62 percent unfavorable (-28); Trump 27 percent favorable, 67 percent unfavorable (-40).
  • Florida: Clinton 37 percent favorable, 58 percent unfavorable (-21); Trump 34 percent favorable, 61 percent unfavorable (-27).
  • North Carolina: Clinton 37 percent favorable, 58 percent unfavorable (-21); Trump 31 percent favorable, 61 percent unfavorable (-30).
  • Virginia: Clinton 37 percent favorable, 58 percent unfavorable (-21); Trump 29 percent favorable, 65 percent unfavorable (-36).

"The driving force behind voters’ choices is the negative impressions they have of both Trump and Clinton. Clinton’s single-digit lead in each of these states is due to her slight advantage in how voters perceive the two candidates," Miringoff adds.

Looking at the Four-Way Horserace

When the presidential contest expands to four candidates — including Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein — the Clinton-vs.-Trump horserace remains essentially unchanged.

In Colorado, Clinton gets support from 39 percent of registered voters, Trump gets 33 percent, Johnson gets 13 percent and Stein gets 4 percent.

In Florida, it’s Clinton 41 percent, Trump 36 percent, Johnson 7 percent and Stein 4 percent.

In North Carolina, it’s Clinton 42 percent, Trump 36 percent, Johnson 7 percent and Stein 2 percent.

And in Virginia, it’s Clinton 41 percent, Trump 34 percent, Johnson 10 percent and Stein 2 percent.

The Downballot Races

In Florida’s competitive Senate contest, incumbent Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who changed his mind and decided to run for re-election, leads likely Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy by just three points among registered voters, 47 percent to 44 percent.

In Colorado, Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet is ahead of GOP nominee Darryl Glenn by 15 points, 53 percent to 38 percent.

In North Carolina, incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Burr is up over Democratic challenger Deborah Ross, 48 percent to 41 percent.

And in the Tar Heel State’s gubernatorial race, incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory trails Democrat Roy Cooper, 49 percent to 45 percent.

The NBC/WSJ/Marist polls were conducted July 5-11 of 794 registered voters in Colorado (which has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.5 percentage points), 871 registered voters in Florida (plus-minus 3.3 percentage points), 907 registered voters in North Carolina (plus-minus 3.3 percentage points) and 876 registered voters in Virginia (plus-minus 3.3 percentage points).