New polling indicates that GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has gained a slim lead over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The fluctuation in the polls has been attributed to dampening enthusiasm among Democrats following FBI Director James Comey's much-criticized announcement that his bureau was examining new emails that could potentially pertain to their investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.
On Nov. 1, an ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll found that Trump leads a four-way race with 46 percent support among likely voters. Clinton is right behind with 45 percent, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson comes in third with 3 percent and Green Party nominee Jill Stein arrives in last with just 2 percent, ABC News reports.
Trump’s narrow lead, his first in the tracking survey since May, falls within the poll’s 3 percentage point margin of sampling error.
The poll found that 53 percent of Trump supporters are very enthusiastic about their candidate, while only 45 percent can say the same about Clinton.
Strong enthusiasm among Clinton’s supporters took a tumble over the past weekend, dropping by 7 percentage points since Oct. 28, when FBI Director Comey sent a cryptic letter to Congress announcing new emails that could be related to their investigation into Clinton’s email server.
The FBI had discovered an email account belonging to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin on a laptop possessed by her estranged husband, former Congressman Anthony Weiner. The bureau did not obtain a warrant to review Abedin’s emails until Oct. 31, two days after Comey announced their existence, The Atlantic reports.
Comey’s vague announcement has drawn scathing criticism from Democratic lawmakers and even their Republican opponents. By announcing the existence of new evidence without verifying their content, Comey had sparked a scandal for the Clinton campaign mere days before the election based on correspondence that may not even be related to the Democratic nominee’s private server.
On Oct. 31, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, wrote a letter to Comey demanding further clarification on the issue before election day, CBS News reports.
“Unfortunately, your letter failed to give Congress and the American people enough context to evaluate the significant or full meaning of the disclosure,” Grassley wrote. The chairman deemed Comey’s decision “not fair to Congress, the American people or Secretary Clinton.”
While the latest poll found that the presidential race has rapidly tightened with a possible edge given to Trump, the survey group noted that their previous tracking polls had found a 1 percentage point lead for GOP nominee Mitt Romney and Democratic nominee John Kerry during the same time frame in the 2008 and 2004 elections. Both of those candidates ultimately lost.
Among the 21 percent of respondents who confirmed to the survey that they had already cast their ballots, 55 percent had supported Clinton while 39 percent had supported Trump in early voting.
Aggregating the last seven national polls released since Oct. 25, Real Clear Politics found that Clinton still leads a four-way race with 2.2 percentage points.