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Poll: Clinton opens big gap in battleground state of Virginia

Does Donald Trump pass the commander-in-chief test? 05:49

The battleground state of Virginia looks a little less like a battleground today, as Hillary Clinton has opened up a lead there of 49 percent to 37 percent, echoing some of the movement seen in national polls this week.


Clinton has nearly-unanimous Democratic backing at the moment while Trump isn't doing as well with his fellow Republicans: she has 95 percent of the state's Democrats compared to 79 percent of GOP-ers for Trump. In today's highly partisan electorate, that amounts to a dramatic difference. There isn't a wholesale move of Republicans to Clinton - just 6 percent - but others have drifted into being unsure, or voting third-party, and in what may become a turnout factor down the road, Republicans report lower motivation to vote than before. (However, that also suggests there could be room for Trump to rebound, if some of his partisans return.)

Trump campaign tries to recover from troublesome week 01:46

The "Commander-in-Chief" test looms large here, as it has become the top decision-making criteria for voters now. Clinton leads on it: fifty-seven percent say she is prepared while 36 percent say so of Trump. That commander-in-chief measure has become so important that Clinton can lead this race despite performing poorly on many other criteria: thirty-three percent believe she "tells the truth"; fewer than half believe she'll "look out for people like you" despite putting an emphasis on that topic at the Democratic convention, and only 34 percent believe she can bring change to Washington.

Yet with the exception of bringing change - which 67 percent believe Trump can do - Trump does not perform especially well on those measures either, which only underlines how the election has, for many voters, become a relative comparison between the two candidates. About three in ten voters in all these battleground states say they dislike both choices, but are picking one anyway.

On the other side of the country in Arizona, Trump leads 44 percent to 42 percent, only two points in a state Republicans typically win without too much trouble. Even if this is as close as Arizona ever gets (just 15 percent of those not voting for Clinton would still consider her) it nonetheless tells the story of a potentially shifting map, forcing Trump to defend usually-red territory, in part because of such strong Hispanic support behind Clinton. In Arizona, 80 percent of Hispanic voters feel they're more motivated to vote this year than previous years, and don't believe Donald Trump treats all people fairly.


Immigration is a large issue there as always - though not quite as large as terrorism and health care - and Republicans remain strongly in support of the idea of a border wall with Mexico. Eight in ten Republicans call it a good idea - though it is seen as a bad idea by relatively more independents and most Democrats. In Arizona, as elsewhere, Clinton is doing relatively better with those Democrats and has benefitted from a bit of crossover support, but many voters remain disappointed in their choices: thirty-two percent say they don't like either of the two major-party candidates but are going to pick one anyway.

The controversy surrounding Donald Trump's comments on the Khan family appear to have hurt him with independents, but less so among Republicans. Republicans' views on the matter are mixed in Arizona as elsewhere, with 45 percent of Republicans saying Trump's response was appropriate and 29 percent inappropriate. Republicans in Arizona are more apt to say they like that Trump sticks up for himself, more generally, than to feel that he is insensitive when he criticizes others.

In Nevada, Clinton leads, 43 percent to 41 percent, also bolstered by support from Hispanic voters and younger voters, but facing more difficulty with older, white voters. In Nevada, as elsewhere, the commander-in-chief measure nets Clinton a large advantage, even as she has lower numbers on measures such as bringing change.


And the selection of Tim Kaine as vice president may have helped Clinton in Virginia, too, as voters are more likely to say it makes them more likely to vote for the ticket than to vote against it.

You can find the methodology for the polls here:

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