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New tracking poll: Trump, Clinton in tight race

Posted at 10:46 AM, Nov 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-01 17:50:22-04

(CNN/WXMI) — Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are neck-and-neck in a new national tracking poll out Tuesday morning as Trump expands his focus beyond battleground states to places like Michigan and Wisconsin where Clinton's margin of favor is shrinking.

The latest ABC News/The Washington Post offering showed Trump barely edging Clinton among likely voters, 46%-45%, well within the poll's 3 percentage point margin of error. Support for Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, meanwhile has fallen to a new low, according to the poll, plunging to just 3% nationwide. Green Party candidate Jill Stein is at 2%.

On Tuesday, Trump's campaign announced a $25 million ad buy in seven states, including Michigan, which the campaign said was being added to its list of "aggressive battleground states." The move comes one day after Trump rallied thousands of supporters in two separate, last-minute campaign stops in Michigan on Monday.

Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told CNN on Monday the campaign was aiming to turn some blue states—specifically Michigan—toward the Republican nominee because they’re “up for grabs.” During Trump's Monday rally in Metro Detroit, he told the crowd his internally polling showed the race in Michigan was a "dead heat."

“He thinks he’s got a chance and that’s why he’s here," said Erika King, political expert with Grand Valley State University. “It’s a game of chess: Where are the states where you can get more people to turn out to vote by giving them a message there’s a real chance we can really turn this thing.”

King said Trump's path to victory is a difficult one, considering the latest polling average from Real Clear Politics shows Clinton with a 260-170 electoral college lead. Trump would have to win every toss up state to break 270 and keep Clinton below the threshold.

However, Trump could afford to lose current toss ups like Colorado or New Hampshire if were able to pull out a win in Michigan, Wisconsin or Pennsylvania.

"They have to go for a long shot with repeated visits," King said. "If you don’t take the chance, your opportunity to win is essentially zero."

Although Trump's single-point advantage over Clinton is statistically negligible, it is his first lead in an ABC/Post poll since May — perhaps giving hope to the Republican presidential nominee's supporters, who believe their candidate's prospects were bolstered last week with the revelation that the FBI is reviewing new emails found on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, the former congressman and estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

Still, it may be too early to gauge the electoral impact of that development, which broke on Friday. Clinton still leads Trump in the CNN Poll of Polls, an average of the five most recent national phone polls, including Tuesday's ABC/WaPo tracking survey, 46%-42%.

The latest ABC/Post poll showed a lack of enthusiasm among Clinton supporters. Only 45% of the Democratic nominee's backers say they are very enthusiastic about supporting her, down 7 percentage points since the start of the tracking poll and eight points lower than the share of Trump supporters who say they are very enthusiastic about supporting their candidate.

The latest ABC/Post tracking poll was conducted October 27-30 using phone interviews with 1,128 likely voters. It has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

FOX 17s Josh Sidorowicz contributed to this report.