Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leads Republican Donald Trump by six points among likely voters heading into the first presidential debate on Monday, according to a brand-new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
The survey – which was conducted after Clinton’s return to the campaign trail following her bout with pneumonia – shows a bigger advantage for the secretary of state than did polls taken during the heightened scrutiny of her health.
It also finds that Clinton is running nearly even with Trump when it comes to voter enthusiasm.
“Despite arguably the worst few weeks of her candidacy, the fundamentals still point toward a Hillary Clinton victory,” says Democratic pollster Fred Yang of Hart Research Associates, who conducted the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies.
McInturff adds, “Donald Trump has closed the margin since August, but as we head towards the debate, still needs to push this campaign closer. The good news for him is the electorate narrowly agrees with him that America has lost ground and wants to see a change in direction.”
In a four-way horserace, Clinton gets support from 43 percent of likely voters and Trump gets 37 percent, while Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson is at 9 percent and the Green Party’s Jill Stein is at 3 percent.
In a head-to-head matchup without those third-party candidates, Clinton’s advantage expands to seven points, 48 percent to 41 percent. This is the NBC/WSJ poll’s first general-election poll of likely voters in the 2016 race.
Among the broader electorate of all registered voters, Clinton is ahead of Trump by five points in the four-way contest, 42 percent to 37 percent – down from Clinton’s nine-point lead in August.
And in a two-way race, Clinton’s edge among registered voters is seven points, 48 percent to 41 percent – also down from nine points in August.
Here, Clinton has the advantage with African American voters (81 percent to 7 percent), women (51 percent to 37 percent) and those ages 18-34 (50 percent to 34 percent), while Trump is ahead among men (46 percent to 44 percent) and whites (49 percent to 41 percent).
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SOURCE: NBC News, Mark Murray