The Note: Swing State Sneak Peek

August 20, 2015, 8:38 AM


BY THE NUMBERS: A fresh Quinnipiac poll out this morning focuses on three swing states in the general election and has several interesting takeaways. No candidate has won the presidential race without taking at least two of these three states. Here are six highlights, courtesy of ABC's RYAN STRUYK:

--HILLARY CLINTON'S honest and trustworthy numbers are in the low 30's in these key swing states. At least six in ten Americans in these states say Clinton is not honest and trustworthy.

--CLINTON'S favorability ratings aren't much better -- in the high 30's in these three key swing states.

--MARCO RUBIO is the only candidate to beat Clinton in all three swing states. Why? Perhaps because some respondents don't know enough about him yet. His favorability ratings show a majority favorable view in his home state of Florida, while at least a third haven't formed an opinion yet in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

--DONALD TRUMP would beat Clinton 43-41 percent in Florida in the general election. It's the only state where she would lose to Trump, Bush and Rubio. She would defeat Trump, however, in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

--JOE BIDEN does as well or better than Clinton against top Republicans in key swing states. Biden would beat Trump in Florida and Rubio in Ohio - both instances in which Clinton comes up short.

--JOHN KASICH leads the GOP nomination race in Ohio, despite Donald Trump's frontrunner status nationally. Trump - not Rubio or Bush - leads the race for the GOP nomination in Florida.

ANALYSIS -- ABC's RICK KLEIN: Just about all of the Republican candidates are craving a one-on-one matchup against Donald Trump, whose negatives continue to suggest greater vulnerability in a consolidated field. But the extraordinary scene that played out Wednesday night in New Hampshire would not be the battle preferred by the onetime (and still maybe future) frontrunner. Jeb Bush did the Jeb Bush thing -- plowing through statistics, sprinkling in some Spanish, displaying policy mastery. And of course, Donald Trump ... was Donald Trump. He mocked Jeb Bush's energy levels, the "very small crowd" he drew, and this corker: "You know what's happening to Jeb's crowd just down the street? They're sleeping!" Something remarkable happened over at Bush's rally: He swung back, calling him a Democrat who wants to raise taxes. It was a mild attack by Trumpian standards, but it could mark an inflection point, as candidates including Bush realize it's not practical or wise to ignore the Trump factor. A race that long looked like it would be Bush vs. an anti-Bush has quickly morphed into a Trump vs. anti-Trump race. It may wind up being good positioning for Jeb -- but in no way is this the race that he saw coming.



5 FACTORS THAT MIGHT PUSH JOE BIDEN TO RUN. Vice President Joe Biden has spent the past few weeks mostly out of the public eye in South Carolina and Delaware, spending time with his family and deciding whether he'll make another run for the White House in 2016. As he continues to weigh both the advantages and the downsides facing his potential presidential campaign, here's a look at five factors that just might make Biden jump into the 2016 race, courtesy of ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ:

WHY BEN CARSON IS BREAKING AWAY FROM THE PACK. Second place in Iowa. Top three nationally. No, it's not Jeb Bush or Scott Walker -- it's Ben Carson. The neurosurgeon, who has never held elected office, is emerging from the middle tier as a top contender after the first Republican debate. Carson, the only black candidate in the 2016 presidential field, is polling at 12 percent in a national Fox News poll out Sunday and 14 percent in a CNN Iowa poll out last week -- good enough for second place in the GOP field behind only Donald Trump. Carson is in third place in a national CNN poll out Tuesday. So, what's behind Carson's rise to the top tier? The candidate is not the most eloquent in the Republican field, nor does he have the most experience or money. But in a campaign that has so far revolved around Donald Trump, Ben Carson brings to the table much of what Trump is -- a Washington outsider, not a politician, authentic and genuine -- without the bombast and spectacle. ABC's RYAN STRUYK and KATHERINE FAULDERS has more.

MIKE HUCKABEE REWRITES US-ISRAEL POLICY IN VISIT TO WEST BANK. On the final day of a 48-hour swing through Israel and the West Bank, Republican presidential contender Gov. Mike Huckabee offered a dramatically different vision of international law and U.S. policy regarding the Occupied Palestinian Territories, even saying he would not use the term "West Bank" and might not support a two-state solution in the region. Speaking to reporters at the ritzy Waldorf Astoria residences in Jerusalem Wednesday, Huckabee challenged the international community's frequent use of three words: "West Bank, illegal and occupation." "Occupation," he explained to reporters, "suggests someone is taking land illegally from someone else." And that's not how he sees it. Huckabee said he considers all the West Bank part of Israel, which pits him against U.S. foreign policy, according to ABC's MOLLY HUNTER.

WATCH LITTLE KID HIT BY MARCO RUBIO'S FOOTBALL TOSS CHALLENGE AT GOP HOPEFUL. Oh snap. GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio is being tossed a new challenge -- not by Donald Trump, Scott Walker, or Jeb Bush -- but by 4-year old Brody Dill, the "Iowa kid" who he accidentally beaned in the head with a football. It was all caught on camera, and the video quickly went viral. "Hey Rubio! When you get back to Iowa, I'll be ready for you, Rubio," Dill responded on Wednesday in a video posted to Twitter by his uncle, Iowa state Sen. Jack Whitver, who is also Rubio's Iowa campaign chair, ABC's INES DE LA CUETARA notes.


DONALD TRUMP'S CAMPAIGN STORE: KOOZIES, POM-POMS AND PENNANTS. Donald Trump is inviting his supporters to join the fight to "Make America Great Again" at his online campaign store, with items ranging from pom-poms and beer "koozies" to his now-iconic hat bearing his slogan. ABC's SUMMER FIELDS browsed through some of the items on sale. Here's a look at some of the finds.


@nytpolitics: Common Core is Jeb Bush's Achilles' heel when it comes to courting many conservatives.

@postpolitics: Just how revolutionary is Trump's immigration plan? It looks a lot like the GOP's.

@HowardKurtz: Trump on the cover of Time (first time since 1989). Headline: Deal With It.

@AmyEGardner: Maureen McDonnell in court yesterday: You can clear me and not my husband, from @mattzap

@carenbohan: Trump's 'go to' national security adviser says he never talked policy with the real estate mogul @DavidCornDC ...

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