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Poll: GOP voters approve of Pence; race tight across battlegrounds

Donald Trump's selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to be his running mate elicits an approving response from Republicans and conservatives across the critical battleground states -- the ones who will decide the election -- as 61 percent of GOP voters in these states say they approve.

While Republicans are more inclined to call it a cautious pick than a bold one, they feel it brings stability to the ticket (as opposed to uncertainty) and think it will help Trump's chances. More broadly, however, Pence is not as well known beyond the GOP rank and file, and overall the pick gets mixed reviews, with 34 percent approving, 28 percent disapproving, and a sizable 38 percent unsure.

Trump is competitive but trailing in two midwest states including Ohio, where Republicans gather starting Monday, trailing Clinton 44 percent to 40 percent, having shaved a point off her lead since May.

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In Michigan, Clinton leads 42 percent to 39 percent, a small lead in a usually blue, if competitive, state.

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Trump holds the narrowest of leads in Iowa, one point at 40 percent to 39 percent.

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Taken together these tell a story of a tight race that largely reflects the national trends, as well as a small advantage for Clinton among likely voters pooled across all eleven battleground states, 41 percent to 40 percent, similar to the tied race shown nationally at 40-40 in last week's CBS News poll.

As the conventions begin the campaigns are aiming at a small slice of voters who could be in play, and the race looks extremely locked-in. More than eight in ten Trump voters -- 83 percent -- say they would never consider Hillary Clinton and 85 percent of Clinton's battleground-state voters would never consider Donald Trump. Moreover, much of their respective support is based on dislike of the other candidate. More of Trump's voters say they're with Trump mainly to oppose Clinton than are with him mainly because they like him, specifically. That figure is a majority in states like Ohio. And many of Clinton's voters -- about one-third -- say the same about voting against Donald Trump.

Voters across these states want to hear specifics from Trump in the convention (73 percent say so) and many -- 41 percent -- would like to hear a softened tone and rhetoric; those not voting for Trump are particularly interested in that. The balancing act for Trump in that regard will be that his current supporters aren't as apt to want that softening. His supporters do want him to try to unify the GOP, and the early indications are that the Pence pick may help with that.

On the issues, Trump has an overall edge on being able to fix the economy, a big edge on being able to change Washington, and being independent from big donors. Clinton leads on being better able to address race relations.

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