Clinton, Trump In Virtual Dead Heat On Eve Of 1st Debate

Monday, 26 September 2016, 03:57 Hrs
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WASHINGTON: Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her Republican rival Donald Trump are in virtual dead heat on the eve of the first presidential debate, a latest opinion poll said today.

Clinton, who is the first ever woman to be nominated as a presidential candidate by a major political party, faces off real estate mogul Trump in the first of a series of three presidential debates beginning tomorrow at Hofstra University in Hampstead, about an hour's drive from New York City.

The two leaders are locked in a neck-and-neck battle, with just over a month to go for the elections.

Representing the Democratic Party, Clinton (49 per cent) is two points ahead of Trump (47 per cent) among likely voters in a two-way matchup, The Washington Post and ABC News said in a joint poll carried out by them.

The two leaders are tied at 46 per cent among all registered voters in the two-way matchup.

Clinton (46 per cent) leads Trump (44 per cent) in four way match up with Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson (five per cent) and Green Party nominee Jill Stein at one per cent.

The two party nominees are tied at 41 per cent among all registered voters in the four-way matchup. 

Clinton's two-point edge among likely voters, in both the four-way and two-way ballot tests, is within the survey's 4.5 percentage-point margin of sampling error, it said.

The latest poll shows how much the presidential contest has tightened in recent weeks and reflects the catch-up done by the 70-year-old reality TV star in the last nine weeks when he was trailing behind the 68-year-old former secretary of state by almost double digits.

Having changed his campaign team twice and also his strategy, and delivering a series of major policy speeches, Trump has erased the advantage that Clinton had after the two back-to-back conventions in July, the poll said.

Trump, meanwhile, is still facing doubts about his qualifications and temperament.

As Clinton has run into some turbulence, Trump has worked to present himself as a more disciplined candidate in an effort to attract more support from voters who traditionally have supported Republican nominees, the poll said.

"The findings underscore how much the presidential contest has tightened in recent weeks, after Clinton emerged from the two national conventions with a clear lead and with Trump on the defensive," The Post wrote.

In RealClearPolitics, which keeps track of all major polls, Clinton is ahead of Trump by 2.5 percentage points in the latest average of polls.

Clinton, who is eyeing to break the highest glass ceiling in the US, has constantly led in the poll since this summer.

Much will be at stake when Clinton and Trump meet tomorrow night, in what is said to be one of the largest television audiences ever for a presidential debate.

A vast 74 per cent of Americans, eight in 10 voters, plan to watch the debate. While 44 per cent expect Clinton to win, 34 per cent think Trump will lead.

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