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Why alarm bells should be ringing for Hillary Clinton in a key swing state

If Jefferson County Fair is anything to go by - Hillary Clinton has her work cut out for her this week.

It's in full swing - pig racing, a demolition derby - hoedown tunes floating through the air from the fiddle competition. Sweltering in a heatwave, this is Grassroots Americana in a rural corner of Pennsylvania. It feels a million miles from Philadelphia across-state where the Democratic convention is underway.

And in a county which went strongly for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders in the primaries - it has a searing message for Hillary Clinton: we don't like you and we don't want you, and even if we do give you our vote, it's only because you're the lesser of two evils.

So in a state which hasn't voted for a Republican president since 1988, and where Hillary Clinton soundly beat Obama in the 2008 presidential primaries - where did it go wrong for her?

In the shade of a cattle barn, I chatted to some farmers and heard a whole host of reasons: trust, character, establishment politics - and - still - the fact she's a woman.

Farmers Bill and Suzianne Smith are registered Democrats. Suzianne has grappled with her opinion of Hillary over many years - but is coming to the conclusion Clinton can't be trusted.

Her husband is in no doubt though. Trump has his vote. He doesn't like Clinton and reckons a female US president would be a disaster - articulating an opinion few are prepared to venture so frankly.

Pity the poor Democrat campaigners then who've now got to sell the Hillary ticket in a county full of Trump fans and Bernie-crats. Their tent at the fair has plenty of flags and fliers: but not a single image of Clinton to be seen.

Kerith Taylor is running for the Democrats for Congress - a Bernie backer who saw his vision for working class America as the way to go. But now, like him, she has to fall in behind Hillary - and it's not easy. On the doorsteps of Jefferson County, she can't even mention her name.

For women of a certain age in America, Clinton is a long yearned-for bullet for the toughest glass ceiling of all. She polls very well amongst them - in almost unassailable figures for Trump.

But this just hasn't cut through to the younger generation of women - who are largely enjoying the benefits of the feminist struggle, and don't see a woman running for president as a big deal. Millennial democrat women backed Bernie Sanders 61-31% over Clinton.

Sam Sears was one of them. She takes a break from singing at the fair to tell us she will now vote for Hillary - but reluctantly. It's only because she loathes Trump.

There has always been a significant contingent in America with a visceral dislike for Hillary Clinton. But it's astonishing to reflect that as Secretary of State she had a 66% approval rating - and went into the primaries with every reason to feel confident. And at this stage she is still ahead in the race.

But a perfect storm of personal controversy, voter rage against the establishment - and a Republican challenger who has ripped up the rule book has left Hillary Clinton looking vulnerable in a way few would ever have imagined.

In the hills of Jefferson County - the alarm bells are ringing.

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