National poll finds Trump, Clinton locked in virtual tie

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Presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new national poll out Wednesday shows Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump locked in a virtual tie, the latest survey to show an exceedingly tight race with just over two months to go before Election Day.

The George Washington University poll finds 42% of likely voters supporting Clinton and 40% backing Trump, within the survey’s margin of error.

“Despite close numbers, Hillary Clinton is poised to win by dominating the issue dimensions of governing, caring, temperament and being for the middle class,” said pollster Celinda Lake, a Democrat and president of Lake Research Partners, a group that conducted the poll with the university. “The key is to have voters focus on the true choice for the country.”

After being presented with several possibilities for how they may vote, about a quarter of poll respondents said they would vote for a third-party candidate or a candidate “from the other political party than the one that you usually support.”

While most of those surveyed — 59% — said they would “reluctantly vote for the candidate of the party you usually support,” 13% said they might not vote at all.

The majority of both Clinton (60%) and Trump (54%) supporters said they are actually voting in favor of a candidate opposed to against their opponent. More voters have a favorable view of Clinton (43%) than Trump (38%).

“What is particularly notable is that, in addition to the strongly negative views of expected opponents, Mr. Trump also has a majority unfavorable rating with voters whom his campaign has been targeting like men (55%), white voters (51%), middle-class voters (59%) and voters whose top issue concern is dysfunction in government (66%),” said pollster Ed Goeas, president and CEO of The Tarrance Group, which helped conduct the poll.

Voters said the economy (21%) and government dysfunction (18%) should be the most important priorities for the next president. The overwhelming majority of likely voters — 73% — surveyed are worried about an economic downturn that could negatively affect their families.

The GWU poll comes one day after a CNN/ORC survey found Trump clinging to a 2-point lead over Clinton, 45% to 43%, also within the poll’s margin of error.

The GWU poll surveyed 1,000 registered likely voters nationwide from August 28 to September 1. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.