As of Oct. 8, RCP's general election average for a four-candidate race—which includes Libertarian Party's Gary Johnson and the Green Party's Jill Stein—shows Clinton with a 3.7% advantage (44.3 – 40.6), about 1-point improvement since late September. Seven of the eight featured polls show Clinton ahead; her largest lead 6 points. Gravis has the two candidates tied. How the 2005 Trump tape and the second debate will impact national numbers is yet to be reflected.
As of Oct. 8, RCP's head-to-head survey average shows Clinton holding a slightly larger lead: 4.6 points (47.5 to 42.9). Clinton currently leads in seven of RCP's eight featured polls, her largest lead 7 points. Trump leads by 3 points in the LA Times/USC tracking poll, which includes a "bloc of disaffected [Trump] voters" pollsters say have been ignored by other surveys.
Clinton, who once held an 11-point lead by average in late March, saw her advantage evaporate over the next few months. After dramatic movement for Trump in late May, including a brief national lead following the Republican National Convention and the FBI's damaging report on Clinton's private email server, the two candidates were deadlocked at 44.3% on July 29, the day after the Democratic National Convention. Over the next three weeks, however, the polls took a downward turn for the Republican, with Clinton building an 8-point lead nationally. In late August, Clinton's lead began to slip as Trump made a series of smart political moves—including visiting Louisiana in the aftermath of the flooding, meeting with the president of Mexico, and giving a number of strong policy speeches—while Clinton appeared to be bunkering down amid more bad headlines about the Clinton Foundation, her private email server, and her continued health problems. After the first presidential debate, Clinton's lead hovered at around 2 points for over a week, but began to climb after the first debate.
FAVORABILITY & BETTING ODDS
Both candidates have been polling at higher negatives than any previous two presidential frontrunners, which has largely remained consistent even during times when one candidate has experienced positive movement. Clinton's favorability by average currently sits at -9.2 points, while Trump's favorability is 12 points worse at -21.2. The betting odds for the two candidates have begun to widen in recent weeks to the advantage of Clinton, who is currently favored 83% to 17% (a 10+-point improvement for the Democrat since late September).
While national polls and favorability ratings are important indicators of the overall popularity of candidates, the state-by-state polls are, of course, what really matters, particularly in the key swing states (Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) and battleground states, like Iowa, Nevada, and North Carolina, where the presidency will ultimately be decided. Below are the most recent polling numbers for 16 battleground states.
In Florida, as of Oct. 5, RCP's poll average finds Clinton ahead by over 2 points. In a four-way contest, Clinton holds a 2.4% lead (45.1% to 42.7%). The results of the two-way polls show a slightly larger gap: 2.9% (46.6% to 43.7%). The two candidates were tied in late September. Clinton led the state by over 4% in mid-August.
In Ohio, as of Oct. 7, Clinton and Trump are locked in a virtual dead heat, with Clinton now holding a razor-thin edge. In a four-way race, the Democrat leads by 0.5% (44 – 43.5) and by a 1% margin in the head-to-head surveys (46 – 45). Trump held an over 3-point lead in the first week of October, while Clinton led by 5 points in late August.
In Pennsylvania, as of Oct. 7, Clinton holds an 8.6-point lead in a four-way contest (47.8 – 39.2), a 6-point improvement since late September. Head-to-head surveys show her with an even more sizeable advantage: 9.4% (49 – 39.6). After losing ground to Trump significantly in September, Clinton has now regained the commanding lead she held in mid-August.
OTHER BATTLEGROUND STATES
Below are thirteen other battleground states ranked from narrowest to widest margins (numbers based on RCP’s averages as of Oct. 9 of the most current surveys). Trump currently leads in only four of the thirteen states (at the end of September, he lead in seven). In September, Trump managed to flip North Carolina, Nevada, and Colorado, but in recent weeks, Clinton has regained the advantage in all three — with her margins growing. Last month, Trump pulled away in Georgia, Missouri and Iowa, all of which were tight in August, though his lead has recently shrunk in Iowa. Clinton, meanwhile, now has an over 4-point advantage in six of the battleground states below.
ARIZONA: Trump +1 (42 – 41)
NEVADA: Clinton +1.4 (43.2 – 41.8)
NORTH CAROLINA: Clinton +2.6 (45 – 42.4)
IOWA: Trump +3.7 (41.7 – 38)
MAINE: Clinton +3.8 (40.8 – 37)
MINNESOTA: Clinton +4.3 (44.3 – 40)
GEORGIA: Trump +5 (45.8 – 40.8)
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Clinton +6 (44.3 – 38.3)
WISCONSIN: Clinton +5 (43 – 38)
MICHIGAN: Clinton +7 (44.3 – 37.3)
VIRGINIA: Clinton +7 (44 – 37)
COLORADO: Clinton +7.3 (44.3 – 37)
MISSOURI: Trump +10.6 (47.3 – 36.7)
This article has been updated to reflect the most recent survey data.