Hours before the first presidential debate, the latest national poll indicates that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump are in a dead heat.
On Sept. 26, the latest Bloomberg Politics national poll found that both Clinton and Trump are tied at 46 percent each in a head-to-head matchup.
When the field is expanded to a four-way race, Trump leads by 2 points with 43 percent with Clinton right behind with 41 percent. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson comes in third with 8 percent while Green Party nominee Jill Stein garners 4 percent support.
Of those polled, 56 percent of Clinton supporters say they will cast their ballot to support her, while 39 percent deem their choice to be a vote against Trump. In comparison, 50 percent of Trump supporters are voting because they believe in him while 42 percent want to avoid a Clinton presidency.
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Only 28 percent of respondents said that they believe the country is headed in the right direction, while 66 percent believe the U.S. is on the wrong track. With such a general question, it is unclear if likely voters’ attitudes are directed at the Obama administration.
Of respondents, 49 percent approve of President Barack Obama’s job performance while 48 percent disapprove.
Both Clinton and Trump received equal unfavorability ratings, with 42 percent of likely voters viewing both positively while 56 percent view them negatively.
Of likely voters, 69 percent want Trump to release his tax returns before the November election while 23 percent believe he should not release them.
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The survey also asked likely voters how much of Clinton and Trump’s negatives bother them.
While the majority of voters were bothered by Trump’s association with the "birther" movement, his friendliness with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Trump Foundation and the lawsuits against Trump University, none of the GOP nominee’s negatives bother voters as much as Clinton’s use of a private email server and suspicions over the Clinton Foundation.
Finally, 49 percent of respondents expected Clinton to have a better performance at the first debate while 39 percent thought Trump would have a better showing. Clearly, expectations have been raised for the former secretary of state to best the business mogul on stage.
The 2016 presidential race has tightened since August, when Clinton had an impressive lead over Trump. Aggregating the last nine national polls released since Sept. 19, Real Clear Politics found that Clinton currently leads the race by an average of 2.3 percentage points.
Nate Silver, the statistician who had accurately predicted 49 out of 50 state turnouts in the 2012 presidential election, took to Twitter to sum up the latest polls.
“It’s a dead heat,” Silver tweeted.