As Debate Nears, Clinton Leads by 6 Points

But FiveThirtyEight says she can't claim a rebound quite yet
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2016 11:08 AM CDT
As Debate Nears, Clinton Leads by 6 Points
Clinton is ahead in one major poll—but is it really a rebound?   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

For those not yet suffering from poll fatigue, new results are out right before the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Monday. Per an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, its first general-election survey of likely voters, Clinton leads Trump by 6 points. The poll was taken between Sept. 16 and Sept. 19, when Clinton was already back to work after the hubbub surrounding her pneumonia. Clinton nabbed 43% of the 922 likely voters, who said they'd vote for her today, while Trump received 37%. Libertarian Gary Johnson almost hit double digits with 9%, while the Green Party's Jill Stein pulled up the rear with 3% (though her name wasn't offered in states where she's not on the ballot). When narrowed down to just Trump, Clinton, and their running mates, Clinton/Kaine received 48%, while Trump/Pence took 41%.

"Despite arguably the worst few weeks of her candidacy, the fundamentals still point toward a Hillary Clinton victory," a Democratic polling expert who led the survey tells NBC. His GOP counterpart, who conducted the survey with him, notes that Trump has closed the gap since August—Clinton had a 9-point lead among all registered voters—but concedes the GOP nominee "still needs to push this campaign closer." NBC notes Trump could get some help from voter indications that they're still looking for a shakeup in the White House: The poll found 49% want a president who would bring "major changes," even if those changes aren't predictable, while 47% favor a more "steady approach." Meanwhile, FiveThirtyEight advises Clinton fans not to get too excited, noting that its own, more-sophisticated polling model shows she can't quite claim a rebound yet. (More Election 2016 stories.)

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