Polls show tightening race between Clinton and Trump

Democrat holds slim lead over Republican rival based on average of opinion polls

On the eve of the first presidential debate, new polls showed the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump tightening further, giving the Democrat on average a narrow lead over her Republican opponent.

As the candidates prepared to leave for Hofstra University in New York, the venue for the first televised debate, a new Bloomberg Politics national poll had the two nominees deadlocked at 46 per cent each in a head-to-head contest. Mr Trump held a two- point advantage over Mrs Clinton, 43 per cent to 41 per cent, when third-party candidates, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson (8 per cent) and the Green Party's Jill Stein (4 per cent), were included. The Bloomberg poll in August had Mrs Clinton enjoying a six-point lead over Mr Trump, and a 12-point advantage when third-party candidates were included.

Ann Selzer, the Iowa-based pollster behind the poll, attributed the narrowing of Mrs Clinton's lead to her loss of ground among women and younger voters. Ms Selzer has shown uncanny skill in predicting results in her home-state's key caucuses. Her poll showed Mrs Clinton maintaining strong support among non-white voters and suburban women, while Mr Trump's poll numbers are helped by his support among white voters, those with no college degree and likely southern voters.

National polls have consistently shown that the Democrat has lost the advantage she enjoyed in August after her post-convention surge, while the races in the battlegrounds have tightened considerably, with Mr Trump on average taking slim leads in Ohio, North Carolina and Florida.


Mrs Clinton still enjoys an advantage in Wisconsin, Virginia and New Hampshire, but lost ground in two states that Barack Obama won – Pennsylvania and Colorado.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll published on Sunday showed likely voters divided 46 per cent for Mrs Clinton and 44 per cent for Mr Trump with Mr Johnson on 5 per cent and Ms Stein on 1 per cent. Among registered voters, Mrs Clinton and Mr Trump were tied at 41 per cent each. In a two-way race, Mrs Clinton polled 49 per cent to Mr Trump's 47 per cent among likely voters, while the two were tied at 46 per cent among registered voters.

The Democrat leads the race by two points in a two- way match-up and by 1.5 percentage points in a four-way race, based on the average of polls by the political website, Real Clear Politics.

Data website Five Thirty Eight on Monday gave Mrs Clinton a 52.5 per cent chance of being the next president, down from 89 per cent in the middle of August.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is News Editor of The Irish Times