Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s lead over Republican Donald Trump in Virginia has narrowed to five points, according to a new poll, despite the fact that Trump is no longer actively campaigning in the state.
The poll, conducted by Winthrop University, found Trump leading Clinton 44 to 39 percent. Five percent of respondents favored Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, while the Green Party’s Jill Stein and independent candidate Evan McMullin each managed 2 percent of likely voters.
“With several negative ‘October surprises’ coming out and affecting both candidates, we have seen a tightening of the race in national polls,” Winthrop University Poll Director Scott Huffmon said in a statement. “However, while Clinton’s lead in Virginia has shrunk from its highest point, she still leads Donald Trump in the Commonwealth.”
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Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, is a Virginia senator and former governor of the state.
The Winthrop poll surveyed 712 likely voters by cellphone and landline telephone Oct. 23-30. The poll has a 3.6 percentage point margin of error. The results of the poll are consistent with the RealClearPolitics average, which also shows Clinton clinging to a five-point lead.
In the past few days, the Clinton campaign has witnessed even its largest leads dwindle away, and some polls even show Trump pulling ahead.
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For the first time since May, Trump leads in the ABC News/Washington Post national tracking poll, 46 to 45 percent. For reference, Clinton held a 12-point lead, 50 to 38 percent, in the poll just more than one week ago.
Trump’s lead is especially telling given the national poll’s disparity in the sampling between Democrats and Republicans. Some 38 percent of those polled identified themselves as Democrats while 28 percent said they were Republicans. The poll even included more independents than Republicans, with 29 percent.
In addition to the disparate sampling, the poll is telling for a few other reasons. For one, the methodology of the poll shows that the number of self-identified Democrats who intend to vote for Trump continues to increase.
In May, Trump garnered the support of 5 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters, but in the most recent poll, his support almost doubled.
Trump has gained an advantage in five designated toss-up states — Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Utah — with an edge of 48 percent to Clinton’s 41, though ABC News dismissed the lead as “not a significant difference given the 5.5-point error margin at this sample size.”
The ABC News poll also shows enthusiasm among Clinton supporters has declined 7 percent, most notably after FBI Director James Comey reopened the investigation into her use of a private email server when she was secretary of state. Only 45 percent of Clinton’s supporters are strongly enthusiastic about voting for her, compared with 53 percent of Trump supporters who say they are strongly enthusiastic.
In Virginia, voters appear deeply divided between Clinton and Trump, though Huffmon seemed to imply that more Democrats are likely to vote Trump than Republicans are to vote Clinton.
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“Virginia voters don’t have a particularly favorable view of either Trump or Clinton. While Clinton’s favorability with her base is stronger than Trump’s, Republicans aren’t likely to cross party lines to vote for someone who 93 percent of them view unfavorably,” he said.
According to data from the poll, 95 percent of Virginia Republicans and 60 percent of all the state’s voters believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, suggesting that Clinton may be in for a surprise in Virginia.
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