D.C. - Matt Vespa at Townhall.com writes about the presidential polls being at a dead heat between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and how Monday night's first of three debates between the two may be unusually crucial to the 2016 election outcome:
In a nationwide poll of 1,712 likely voters taken Sept. 22 through Sept. 24, 39 percent of respondents chose Trump, while while Clinton was the choice for 38 percent. The difference between the two candidates is within the margin of error. The other candidates in the race continue to trail behind the leaders, with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson at 9 percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein at 4 percent; 10 percent of respondents say they don’t know or have no opinion.
In a head-to-head matchup without the third-party candidates, Clinton edges out Trump by 2 points among likely voters, 44 percent to 42 percent, within the margin of error.
Among the slightly broader sample of registered voters, Clinton has a 1-point lead over Trump, 37 percent to 36 percent, with Johnson at 9 percent and Stein at 4 percent. Again, the difference between Trump and Clinton is within the margin of error.
Still, half of voters say the debates will be at least somewhat important in how they vote in November, signaling how much is at stake with each candidate’s performance. About one-fourth of voters (23 percent) say the debates will be not important at all in their choice at the ballot box.
Independent voters have a less strong opinion about the debates, suggesting that the TV events be more important in terms of shoring up commitment from party affiliates than winning over undecided voters. Independents are less likely to watch Monday’s debate than either Republicans or Democrats; 54 percent of independents say they expect to watch, while 75 percent of Republicans and 70 percent of Democrats plan to tune in.