Second TargetSmart | William & Mary Ohio Poll Shows Slight Lead for Clinton

-Clinton 43, Trump 40-

Editor’s Note:

Explore our interactive dashboard with survey results and voter file data here

Read our poll release and view topline data, crosstabs, and survey methodology here


October 8, 2016 – The contest for Ohio’s 18 electoral votes remains tight, according to a new poll of 812 likely voters released today by TargetSmart and William & Mary. Hillary Clinton garners 43 percent of the vote to Donald Trump’s 40 percent, with 8 percent of voters backing Gary Johnson. These trends are largely in-line with TargetSmart and William & Mary’s survey from late September, in which 40 percent of likely voters in Ohio backed Clinton and 37 percent supported Trump.

This is the second poll released by TargetSmart and William & Mary since the political data company and university formed a partnership to conduct research in key battleground states. Many publicly released surveys use self-reported likelihood to vote to identify a likely voter sample, screening out survey respondents who may end up participating, or including respondents who may not ultimately vote. The likely voter model used to weight this survey data starts by mirroring all registered voters on the TargetSmart voter file, and then applies a second round of weights based solely on respondents’ likelihood to vote, as measured by TargetSmart’s General Election Turnout score, one of many predictive models housed on the TargetSmart voter file.

“Rather than preventing certain registered voters from participating in the survey, our likely voter model puts more weight behind the survey responses of those voters with a demonstrated past behavior of participation, and down weights responses from those who are less likely to vote,” said Ron Rapoport, John Marshall Professor of Government at William & Mary.

Survey results show Donald Trump continues to struggle with his base, attracting just 74 percent of self-described Republican voters. On the flip side, Hillary Clinton wins the support of 88 percent of self-described Democrats. Independents favor Trump by a narrow 5-point margin (35 percent for Clinton to 40 percent for Trump), but 14 percent of these key swing voters back Johnson. Trump also leads among men (by 8 points), holding particularly strong advantages among white men (by 21 points), married men (by 23 points), and men without a college degree (by 17 points). Overall, white voters without a college degree favor Trump by 23 points. Clinton’s coalition consists of African Americans (with whom she leads by 74 points), unmarried voters (by 19 points) and college educated women (by 22 points). Clinton also holds a marginal advantage among white college graduates (by 4 points).

Most of those surveyed (80 percent) report having watched the first presidential debate and these voters generally believe Clinton won (62 percent say she won, 17 percent say Trump won); notably, one-in-three Ohio Republican voters (34 percent) believe Clinton won the first debate. Moreover, a third of likely Ohio voters overall (32 percent), as well as independent voters more specifically (32 percent), report that Trump’s debate performance made them less likely to support him.

“Our survey suggests that Trump’s performance in the debate itself has been more damaging to his prospects in Ohio than the subsequent fallout over Alicia Machado and his tax returns,” said TargetSmart pollster Ben Lazarus.

Most voters have seen, heard or read something about Machado (69 percent) and Trump’s tax returns (85 percent) according to the survey. However, only 1-in-5 voters (21 percent) report that information about Machado has made them less inclined to vote for Trump, and only marginally more (26 percent) say what they have heard about Trump’s tax returns negatively impacts their likelihood to support him. Notably, a plurality of Ohio voters (45 percent) believe Trump has not released his tax returns because he knows they will cause political problems for him. Just 25 percent take him at his word that he cannot release his returns due to a routine IRS audit. Ohio voters are also relatively suspect of Secretary Clinton when it comes to trade, as just 20 percent believe she will remain against the TPP in the future, while 38 percent say she will change her position on it and ultimately support the deal.


About TargetSmart:

TargetSmart is the leading provider of political data that enables campaigns and organizations to successfully communicate with large audiences, and personalize outreach. Our superior politically-focused, consultative approach combines consumer data, databases, data integration and consulting solutions for personalized multichannel marketing strategies. TargetSmart leverages over 25 years of experience in data management to deliver high-performance, reliable data products and solutions.

About William & Mary:

William & Mary is a public university located in Williamsburg, Virginia. Founded by Royal Charter in 1693, it is the second oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News and World Report ranks William & Mary sixth among all public universities in the country.