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Poll: Hillary Clinton extends lead in Ohio

In Ohio, which is so critical to Donald Trump’s electoral fortunes, it is Hillary Clinton who has extended her lead and is now up six points, 46 percent to 40 percent; she was up four points in July. Clinton has made gains among women, and remains bolstered by a nearly-unified Democratic base. She wins 90 percent of Democrats, while Trump remains hampered by just enough reluctant Republicans: He’s at 79 percent of GOPers.

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In Iowa, the two are even, each with 40 percent support. This is the only state in recent polling that doesn’t show Clinton with an outright lead. In some ways, the tie there just spotlights Trump’s difficulty breaking out beyond his base, more generally. Iowa has many older voters and Trump does well with them. 

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In Iowa, as in Ohio, older voters say that American life is changing for the worse. However Trump is struggling with younger voters, the youngest of whom are the most likely to disagree with that assessment. Trump continues to do his best with white voters, but he struggles with African American voters in Ohio -- as in other states -- and in what has amounted to trouble for him in other states like Arizona and Florida, he does poorly with Hispanic voters.

The poll asked people what it would take to get them to reconsider Trump, if they aren’t currently voting for him. While there aren’t a lot of people who said that anything could make them rethink the contest – fewer than one in five – there are enough people that Trump could potentially make some inroads. Their top answer is that Trump convinces them he is “prepared to be commander-in-chief.” This may not be a surprise, given that this metric is the one that has cost Trump the most in recent polling across many states. (In this survey of Ohio, just 35 percent feel he is prepared.) And 17 percent of those not with him might reconsider if he “apologizes to people he has offended” – though that sets up a balancing act for him because other recent polls have suggested his current supporters would not see any such needs.

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It’s not all good news for Clinton, despite her lead. She is not widely seen in Ohio as “looking out for people like you” (fewer than half, 44 percent, think so), which also connects to voters’ doubts about her truthfulness, and to the fact that many voters feel she is too connected to the influence of foreign donors. People who think she is too connected are the most skeptical about her truthfulness and do not think she will look out for them.

Also hampering Trump right now is that he is being viewed as a “risky choice;” that is especially the case among women. In Ohio, 73 percent of women describe him as such, and 70 percent of voters overall.

Putting Ohio and Iowa in the context of the larger electoral map, Ohio becomes yet another sizable lead that Clinton has taken in a key state as the campaign heads toward fall. The general election campaign started off with at least eleven states considered battlegrounds, which we thought could be closely contested. It is only August, but that looks much less the case, at least as of now. Recently, Clinton has also developed meaningful or even sizable leads in key places like Virginia, Florida, and New Hampshire, as well as many states across the rust belt where Trump had initially hoped to make inroads. So, the fall will see Trump looking to come back in a number of states. He won’t be able to cherry-pick just one or two to get over the 270 electoral votes he needs to win the presidency.  

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Although some Republican leaders have voiced concern that if Trump continues to trail in the presidential race, it might hurt their senate candidates on the ballot too, there no such effect right now in either Ohio or Iowa. Republican Rob Portman, running for re-election to the Senate in Ohio, is running seven points ahead of his Democratic opponent Ted Strickland, even as Trump is trailing Clinton by six. Voters in Ohio overwhelming call Portman a “different” kind of Republican from Trump. And Chuck Grassley, a longtime incumbent, is up in Iowa as well.

Methodology can be found here: 

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    Anthony Salvanto, Ph.D is CBS News Director of Elections and Surveys. He oversees all polling across the nation, states and congressional races, and heads the CBS News Decision Desk that estimates outcomes on Election Nights. He is the author of "Where Did You Get This Number: A Pollster's Guide to Making Sense of the World," from Simon & Schuster, and appears regularly across all CBS News platforms. His scholarly research and writings cover topics on polling methodology, voting behavior, and sampling techniques.