Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has closed to within 2 points of Hillary Clinton, making the race a relative dead heat "within the margin of error," according to Morning Consult’s new poll results Sunday morning.
It was the second national poll in two days in which the two candidates are now in a virtual tie. On Friday, the latest Reuters/Ipsos national tracking poll showed 40 percent of likely voters supporting Trump and 39 percent backing Clinton for the week of Aug. 26 to Sept. 1. Clinton's support has dropped steadily in the weekly tracking poll since Aug. 25, eliminating what had been a eight-point lead for her.
The Morning Consult poll has tightened every week in the past month from a 7-point Clinton head-to-head edge 44-37 on Aug. 11-14 to just 42-40 on Sept. 1-2. The poll took a national sample of 2,001 registered voters with a 2-percent margin of error.
When asked to choose between Clinton, Trump or Don’t Known/No Opinion:
- 42 percent chose Clinton
- 40 percent chose Trump
- 18 percent undecided
When adding the third-party candidates:
- 38 percent Clinton
- 36 percent Trump
- 9 percent Libertarian Gary Johnson
- 4 percent Green Party’s Jill Stein
- 13 percent undecided
"A week that saw Donald Trump solidly embrace his well-known harsh rhetoric on immigration has done little to change his standing among the public," the Morning Consult’s Fawn Johnson wrote Sunday.
The Morning Consult poll revealed 61 percent of Hispanic voters favor Clinton compared to 21 percent for Trump, a slight increase from the previous week, despite the overall race tightening.
In recent weeks, Clinton has come under renewed criticism over her handling of classified information while serving as U.S. secretary of state, and her family's charitable foundation has come under fresh scrutiny for the donations it accepted while Clinton served in the Obama administration. Meanwhile, Clinton hasn't been campaigning as actively as Trump.
Trump, meanwhile, has reshuffled his campaign leadership and sought to broaden his appeal to moderate Republicans and minorities. He recently suggested that he would be a better president than Clinton for African Americans, and has taken steps, including a meeting this week with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, to reach out to immigrants. It remains to be seen whether those efforts will click.
Clinton has led Trump through most of the campaign for the November election, though neither candidate appears to have inspired America.
In the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll, more than 20 percent of likely voters opted for a choice other than the two major nominees, whether an alternative candidate, "would not vote" or "unsure." That figure is significantly higher than the 10 percent to 14 percent of respondents who answered similarly at this point in the 2012 campaign. Both President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney enjoyed substantially stronger support at this point in the summer of 2012 than either Trump or Clinton does now.
And while Trump has consolidated his support among Republicans, likely voters are expressing an increasingly sour view of Clinton: The share of likely voters with an unfavorable view of the former secretary of state has grown to 57 percent, compared with Trump's 54 percent, her worst showing on that metric in a month.
Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said he remains convinced Clinton is ahead, somewhere in the range seen among the polling aggregators.
"There has been a closing that's completely natural," Sabato said. "Every four years, you have two national party conventions that produce a bounce of varying sizes. Clinton got a substantial bounce this year that lasted for a full month. It's usually gone around Labor Day, and by then we'll be where we should be, which is right around four to five points" for Clinton.
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