With just over two months to go, pundits have all but called the results of the 2016 presidential election. But despite the never-ending torrent of bigotry and obfuscation streaming from the mouth (and fingers) of the Republican candidate, new polling shows that Donald Trump is still neck and neck with rival Hillary Clinton.
As of Monday, the USC Dornslife/LA Times tracking poll had the two candidates locked in a virtual tie, with Trump leading slightly at 44 percent and Clinton polling at 43.6 percent.
That survey uses a slightly different method than most, asking roughly 3,000 randomly recruited voters on a regular basis about their support for Clinton, Trump, or another candidate. The poll is updated daily "based on the weighted average of poll responses over the previous week," which the Times explains, "means the results have less volatility than some other polls."
Nonetheless, the findings follow other more traditional polls that also found Trump gaining ground. The latest Morning Consult poll published Sunday showed Clinton's lead being halved, dropping from six points over Trump for the period between August 18-20 to just three points August 24-26. The pollsters note that the race "hasn't been this close since late July," with the Democratic candidate now polling at just 43 percent to Trump's 40.
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The survey looks at the scandals and missteps that continue to plague the two leading candidates—from the controversial ties of the Clinton Foundation to Trump's failing outreach to minority voters—and notes that both "are still highly unpopular, with 58 percent of voters saying they have an unfavorable view of Trump and 57 percent saying the same about Clinton."
What's more, the race grows even tighter when third-party candidates are factored in.
"Independents remain stubbornly divided in three camps: 35 percent say they will vote for Clinton; 34 percent prefer Trump; and 31 percent are undecided," the poll states. When pitted against Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, "Trump's gains on Clinton tighten to within the margin of error." In such a match-up, Clinton only leads Trump by two points, 39 percent to 37 percent.
The Real Clear Politics (RCP) Average, which includes the LA Times poll but not the Morning Consult survey, most recently showed Clinton enjoying a six-point lead over Trump. However, RCP also found that margin shrinking to just four points when third-party rivals were factored in.