Clinton, Trump in virtual tie ahead of first debate: poll

2016-09-25 17:11
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign stop in Orlando. (Matt Rourke, AP)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign stop in Orlando. (Matt Rourke, AP)

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Washington - Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are in a virtual dead heat in their bitter race for the White House on the eve of their first head-to-head presidential debate, a new poll showed on Sunday.

The Washington Post-ABC News poll found that Clinton's slim margin from last month has now vanished. Instead, the Democrat and her Republican rival tied at 41% support among registered voters, with Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson at 7% and Green Party nominee Jill Stein at 2%.

In a two-way match-up, Clinton and Trump each got 46% among registered voters.

While some other national surveys show Clinton with a lead, poll averages show a low, single-digit margin.

Gender, race and education were clear markers between the two candidates.

Men back Trump by 54% to 55% of women who said they support Clinton, the poll showed. About 53% of white voters back Trump, compared to 37% for Clinton, while non-white voters back her 69% to 19% for her Republican rival.

Trump is ahead of Clinton by more than four to one among white men without college degrees, a gap that narrows for white women without college degrees and college-educated white men.

Among college educated white women, Clinton leads Trump in the poll by 57% to 32%.


The two candidates are still grappling with high negativity among voters.

Around 39% of registered voters see Clinton favourably, compared to 57% who have an unfavourable impression.

For Trump, 38% had a positive impression and 57% a negative one, a rating five points lower than it was prior to the two parties' national conventions in July.

While voters find both candidates lacking in honesty overall, Clinton's ratings were worse, with just 33% of voters finding her honest and trustworthy and 66% saying she is not.

About 42% of voters said Trump was honest and trustworthy, while 53% said he was not.

Most voters (53%) who do not see Trump as qualified to be president, while 58% said he lacks the temperament to be an effective president and 55% said he lacked the world knowledge required for the job.

Debate fireworks

Meanwhile, Trump threatened on Saturday to bring a former lover of Clinton's husband Bill to the debate, one of a series of references he has made to the ex-president's infidelities.

His gibe came after billionaire investor Mark Cuban, a vocal Trump critic who backs Clinton, agreed to sit at the front of the audience for the televised debate, which is expected to shatter audience records with up to 90 million Americans watching.

"If dopey Mark Cuban of failed Benefactor fame wants to sit in the front row, perhaps I will put Gennifer Flowers right alongside of him!" tweeted Trump, himself a billionaire real estate investor.

Further complicating matters, a Twitter account linked to Flowers's official website said she would attend the highly anticipated showdown - and suggested she backed Trump.

"Hi Donald. You know I'm in your corner and will definitely be at the debate!..." the tweet read, with a kiss emoji at the end.

Bill Clinton had an infamous affair with Flowers during his tenure as Arkansas governor that he later admitted under oath.

Read more on:    donald trump  |  hillary clinton  |  us  |  us 2016 elections

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