A new round of state polls present bad news for Hillary Clinton and a measure of hope for Donald Trump. Quinnipiac University showed Trump ahead in Florida and Pennsylvania and tied with Clinton in Ohio. Mitt Romney lost all three states in 2012 but had he won them he would have edged out Barack Obama in the Electoral College and thus would have been elected president. If Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein are thrown into the mix, Trump pulls slightly ahead in Ohio.

The results of the state polls suggest a few things.

One is that Trump, despite a series of epic missteps since he became the presumed nominee, has not damaged himself to such an extent that he has foreclosed the possibility of winning the presidency. It is that Trump is all that popular; he’s not. The results suggest that had he not inflicted wounds on himself, he would be farther ahead.

Next, of Trump is relatively unpopular, Clinton is really hated by a lot of Americans. The email server affair, though she was not indicted over the matter, has left a bad taste in peoples’ mouths.

Americans by large majorities regard Clinton as fundamentally dishonest. She is also just an awful politician and cuts an unappealing figure on the stump.

Finally, Americans in the three swing states are discontented with the state of the government and the economy. Trump is appealing to them with his message of economic populism.

To be sure, neither Trump nor Clinton have pulled ahead, remaining stuck in the mid to low 40s.

They both, having been in the public eye, have been around for decades and thus have universal name recognition. Thus there may not be a lot of room for improvement for either candidate. Trump could work harder to reassure Americans that his hand on the tiller of the ship of state will be steadier than his rhetoric thus far suggests.

Trump has one more advantage. In a year of the outsider, he is the ultimate outsider candidate.

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, is pure establishment, beholden to campaign contributors, and thus looked on with more suspicion than the polling might suggest.

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