The presidential race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump is a virtual dead heat, as she takes 44 percent of American likely voters to his 43 percent, with 8 percent for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson and 2 percent for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released Monday.
This compares to a 41-to-39 percent Clinton lead among likely voters in a September 14 survey by Quinnipiac University.
In a head-to-head matchup, Clinton gets 47 percent to Trump’s 46 percent, according to the poll conducted September 22 -25 of 1,115 likely voters. The poll has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.
American likely voters predicted 41-to-32 percent that Clinton would win Monday’s presidential debate and 84 percent of voters say they planed on watching the highly anticipated first showdown. Two more debates are scheduled this fall.
In fact, 55 percent of likely voters nationwide say they are “more motivated that usual” to vote this year, while 11 percent say they are less motivated, and 33 percent say their motivation is “about the same as usual.”
There is a small gender gap and a wide racial divide in the four-way likely voter matchup as Clinton leads 47-to-42 percent among women, while men go to Trump by a narrow 44-to-40 percent. Trump leads 50-to-36 percent among white voters, while non-white voters back Clinton 66-to-24 percent.
“The race for president is a virtual tie and millions of likely voters consider the first debate must-see TV. And for those inclined to place a wager on the likely winner, Hillary Clinton is the best bet,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
“In this Super Bowl of American politics, the ratings will be huge and the contenders start dead even.”
In the four-way presidential matchup, Trump leads 86-to-5 percent among Republicans and 42-to-35 percent among independent voters. Democrats back Clinton 90-to-6 percent.
The Quinnipiac poll asked likely American voters about two topics in the news that might sway voters – the health of the candidates and national security
Those surveyed said 73-to-18 percent that Trump is healthy enough to be president while 58 percent of voters say Clinton is healthy enough to be president. Thirty-one percent of those polled over the weekend say Clinton is not healthy enough to be president . Ironically, Trump sniffled throughout the first debate Monday night, causing a stir on social media and late-night talk shows.
Meanwhile, a total of 50 percent of voters are “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” that they or a family member will be a victim of a terrorist attack, while 50 percent are “not so concerned” or “not concerned at all.”
Government anti-terror policies have not gone far enough to adequately protect the country, 51 percent of voters say, while 27 percent say they have gone too far restricting civil liberties.
Another topic of debate at Hofstra University Monday night was Trump’s years-long assertion that President Barack Obama was born outside of the United States. He recently backed off that position.
For 33 percent of voters, their opinion of Trump was affected in a negative way by his participation in the so-called “birther movement” which said President Barack Obama was born outside the U.S., while 4 percent say their opinion was positive and 60 percent say it did not affect their opinion.
Trump’s announcement that he now believes President Obama was born in the U.S. did not affect their opinion of him, 78 percent of likely voters say.
Live interviewers called landlines and cell phones for this Quinnipiac poll. Seventy-two percent of respondents were white; 12 percent were black and 8 percent were Hispanic.