By Bonnie K. Goodman
Heading into the first presidential debate, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump are on a near even playing field. According to the latest national polls released on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, Trump leads by one percent in the latest Morning Consult poll, while Clinton leads by two points in the latest edition of the Washington Post-ABC News poll, but among registered voters, they are in a tie.
In the Washington Post-ABC News poll, Clinton leads 46 to Trump’s 44 percent among likely voters. Factoring third party candidates, “Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson has 5 percent, and the Green Party’s Jill Stein has only 1 percent.” The picture is different among actual registered voters, Clinton and Trump both have 41 percent support, while Johnson increases to 7 percent and Stein as well up to two percent support. In a two race, Clinton still leads Trump by two percent among likely voters, and it remains a tie at 46 percent each among registered voters.
In contrast, Trump leads in the Morning Consult poll, where he has 39 percent support to Clinton 38 percent. Although it is just one point, it demonstrates just how tight the race and it could either way. In the poll, both third party candidates see a larger percentage of support from voters; Johnson has nine percent, and Stein has four percent. If third party candidates are removed, Clinton has a two point lead over Trump, 44 to 42 percent.
Although it may seem as the candidates are in dead heat, it appears more like a decline for Clinton whose numbers have been shrinking from a runaway lead to just a tie. After the Democratic convention in the same the Washington Post-ABC News poll Clinton led by eight percent, and at the start of the month, she led by 5 percent. At Clinton’s post-convention high one poll gave a 15 percent advantage over Trump. Now in the latest RealClearPolitics average of polls Clinton has only a 2.5 percent lead. Clinton’s leads are also shrinking in battleground states, making the upcoming presidential debates all the more crucial for both nominees.