COLUMBUS — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has widened his lead in Ohio even as likely voters questioned in the latest Quinnipiac Poll say by better than a 2-1 margin that Democrat Hillary Clinton won last week’s first debate.
Mrs. Clinton, however, holds leads in all three of the other states polled — Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
The poll, released today, shows Mr. Trump with 47 percent of Ohioans questioned compared to 42 percent for Mrs. Clinton. The poll, however, questioned fewer likely voters than recent polls and had a wider margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
Last month’s poll had Trump with a 4-point margin, 41 percent to 37 percent, with a tighter margin or error.
The latest poll also showed that Ohioans’ interest in minor-party alternatives is waning. Libertarian Gary Johnson dropped from 14 percent in a four-way matchup in September to 6 percent. The Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein dropped from 4 percent to 1 percent.
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If you take the minor party candidates out of the mix, the race tightens slightly from 49 percent to 46 percent, a statistical tie with Mr. Trump still holding the edge.
“The good news for Secretary Clinton is that she has opened a 5-point lead in Florida, in what had been a dead heat in Quinnipiac University’s Sept. 8 poll,” said Peter A. Brown, the poll’s assistant director. “But Donald Trump holds his lead in Ohio and stays close in North Carolina while she retains her small margin in Pennsylvania.”
Mr. Trump’s goal is to hold on to the states that Republican nominee Mitt Romney won in 2012 while flipping some key states that President Obama won like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida.
Mr. Romney won North Carolina, and a loss there would make it more difficult for Mr. Trump to accrue the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House. In addition to Ohio, recent polls have him either leading or competitive in two other Obama states, Iowa, and Colorado.
Fifty percent of Ohio voters questioned, including 21 percent of Republicans, said Mrs. Clinton won the first presidential debate on Sept. 26. Twenty-four percent said Mr. Trump won. The poll began the day after the debate and continued until Sunday.
“In some states, figuring why one candidate is doing better than the other takes from head-scratching, but not in Ohio,” Mr. Brown said. “Trump’s 19-point lead among independent voters tells us almost all we need to know. Secretary Clinton must close that gap to come back in the Buckeye State.”
Mrs. Clinton, who hadn’t personally visited Ohio since Labor Day, is trying to do exactly that with back-to-back visits to Toledo and Akron today.
In multiple-candidate polling in the other states:
— Florida: Clinton, 46 percent; Trump, 41 percent; Johnson, 5 percent; Stein, 2 percent
— North Carolina: Clinton, 46 percent; Trump, 43 percent; Johnson, 7 percent.
— Pennsylvania: Clinton, 45 percent; Trump, 41 percent; Johnson, 5 percent; Stein, 2 percent.
“One thing is for sure,” Mr. Brown said. “Many voters don’t have to think a presidential candidate is a good debater to support their candidate in 2016. In Florida, likely voters five Hillary Clinton a 35 percentage point margin for winning the debate, but only a 5-point margin in the election matchup.”
In Ohio, 33 percent of those questioned identified as Democrats and 31 percent as Republicans.
Contact Jim Provance at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-221-0496.