Trump pulls just ahead in two key U.S. states: poll

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Donald Trump pulled ahead of Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton in Florida and Pennsylvania in a Quinnipiac Poll released on Wednesday that included responses after the FBI released its findings on Clinton’s email use.

Slideshow ( 2 images )

Clinton lost ground on honesty and moral standards in the poll that showed tight races in Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, all swing states that could go to either party in November’s presidential election.

The Quinnipiac Poll, taken from June 30 to July 11, showed Trump competitive in the three states a week before the start of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland that will formally nominate him as the party’s presidential candidate for the Nov. 8 election.

Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the poll, said there was no definite link between Clinton’s drop in Florida from Quinnipiac’s June 21 survey and the FBI’s findings that she was careless in her handling of government emails while U.S. secretary of state.

But he said Clinton lost ground to Trump on questions that measure moral standards and honesty.

Clinton lost an 8-point lead in Florida, where Trump won 42 percent to Clinton’s 39 percent, according to the Quinnipiac Poll. In Ohio, the poll showed the candidates tied at 41 percent.

In Pennsylvania, the Quinnipiac poll showed Trump with 43 percent to Clinton’s 41 percent.

A NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released this week showed a very different result in Pennsylvania, with Clinton leading Trump 45 to 36 percent. The July 5-10 poll included 829 registered voters and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Nationally, Clinton leads Trump by 13 percentage points, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday. The online poll showed that 46 percent of likely voters support Clinton while 33 percent support Trump. The July 8-12 included 1,146 likely voters and has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 3 percentage points.

FBI Director James Comey said last week Clinton was “extremely careless” in the handling of classified information but the investigation found no evidence she or her colleagues intended to violate laws.

Clinton, a former U.S. senator and first lady, has faced heavy criticism from Republicans for her use of private email servers for government business while she led the State Department from 2009 to 2013.

The Quinnipiac poll was conducted by telephone with people who identified as registered voters. It included 1,015 people in Florida, 955 people in Ohio and 982 people in Pennsylvania. The margin of error was around three percentage points in all three states.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Chris Kahn; Editing by Frances Kerry