Donald Trump expanded his lead over Hillary Clinton in a four-way race to two points, 42%-40%, in day 4 of the IBD/TIPP presidential tracking poll, with Trump moving past his Democratic rival in a head-to-head match-up for the first time.
Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson fell 1 point to 7%, while Green Party Jill Stein held at 4%. In the first three days of the tracking poll, Trump held a 1-point lead in a four-way race. Unrounded, Trump leads 42.1% to 39.7% – a 2.4-point edge – with Johnson at 7.3% and Stein at 3.6%.
Meanwhile, in a 2-way race, Trump leads Clinton by a half-point -- 42.2% to 41.7%. Previously, Clinton had led by two or three points in a 2-way race vs. Trump.
By either measure, the latest IBD/TIPP poll provides further evidence that the final presidential debate on Wednesday did not hurt the Republican nominee, despite media attention on his refusal to state flatly that he would accept the election results.
The tracking poll is a six-day moving average, which means that day-to-day swings have little impact.
The national poll of 791 likely voters has a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percentage points.
For daily updates until the election and full details, including demographic breakdowns of results, follow the IBD/TIPP Presidential Tracking Poll.
Trump leads 44%-28% among independents, increasing from prior days. Trump dominates among rural voters (57%-27%),while Clinton is well ahead among urban voters (53%-29%) and split in the suburbs (Clinton 41%-39%).
Roughly 5% of voters say they are undecided in a four-way race. Johnson and Stein are showing unusually strong support for a non-major party candidate so late in a presidential campaign. That reflects the historical unpopularity of Trump and Clinton.
Could the third-party candidates affect the outcome of the race? That's unclear. In most states, either Clinton or Trump should win easily. So voters can pull the lever for Johnson or Stein without changing who will be the victor. In battleground states, though, voters may be more reluctant to vote for a third party when the winner is in doubt.
But with Trump edging ahead in a two-way race, Clinton can't necessarily count on Johnson and Stein defectors to carry her to victory on Election Day.
Many election analysts have argued that economic anxiety has fueled Trump's populist message on trade and immigration. But among various groups, Trump fares best among middle-class and upper-class voters. Trump supporters, concentrated among rural and non-college voters, may be faring relatively well economically. But many are anxious about social change, family breakdown and what kind of jobs and lives their children will lead.
The IBD/TIPP poll shows a wide gender gap. But Clinton leads by 16 points (50%-34%) among single women, while married women are split 42%-42%.
The IBD/TIPP tracking poll has been the most accurate over the last three presidential elections. However, the Real Clear Politics poll average shows Clinton leading Trump by about six points in a two-way and four-way contest.
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