Trump Jumps to 5 Point Lead in Latest Rasmussen

     (CN) – With the first presidential debate coming on Monday, Donald Trump has moved to a five-point lead over Hillary Clinton in the last Rasmussen poll, his biggest advantage since mid-July. However, several state polls on Thursday remained highly favorite to the Democrat.
     The latest Rasmussen Reports weekly White House Watch survey finds Trump with the support of 44 percent of participating likely voters, compared to Clinton’s 39 percent.
     Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson came in third, at 8 percent, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein holds steady at 2 percent.
     Three percent of those participating in the telephone and online survey like some “other” candidate, while 5 percent said they are still undecided.
     Trump was trailing Clinton in the Rasmussen poll until last week, when he edged ahead, 42 percent to 40 percent. Trump’s total this week ties his highest ever level of support from two months ago.
     Trump and Clinton earn comparable support from voters in their own party (Trump getting the support of 76 percent of Republicans, while Clinton got the support of 75 percent of Democrats).
     But 14 percent of Democrats said they actually prefer Trump to Clinton, while 10 percent of Republicans said they will join former President George H.W. Bush in supporting Clinton.
     The biggest eye-opener, however, is Trump’s commanding lead 45 percent to 27 percent among voters not affiliated with either major political party.
     The survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted on Sept. 20-21, 2016. The margin of sampling error is plus-or-minus 3 percent.
     In contrast, to Rasmussen’s findings, the latest USC Dornsife/L.A. Times Presidential Election Daybreak Poll finds support for Trump continuing to slide nationally, with his lead now only 2 percent, down significantly from Monday, when he was up by 7 percent.
     Meanwhile, two Emerson College polls in the Midwest show Clinton leading Trump by 7 percent in Wisconsin (45 percent to 38 percent) and by 6 points in Illinois (45 percent to 39 percent).
     Clinton and Trump are in a dead heat among Wisconsin Independents, with the Democrat leading by 1 point, 35 percent to 34 percent.
     There’s also an interesting side note: The survey found that Libertarian Gary Johnson has picked up the support of 42 percent of those who voted for Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the GOP primary, while Clinton has picked up 24 percent of the Kasich vote. Trump has picked up 22 percent of that vote ,the survey said.
     For those who don’t remember, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won the Wisconsin presidential primary in April, with 48 percent of the vote, while Trump came in second, with 35 percent, and Kasich came in third, with 14 percent of the vote.
     The Emerson College poll give no breakdown on what’s happened in regard to Cruz’s supporters, but given their candidate’s unresolved animus toward the GOP standard-bearer, it’s unlikely they’ve made a wholesale shift to Trump.
     On the Democratic side, 62 percent of those who supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said they will now vote for Clinton, while 16 percent support Johnson and 11 percent prefer Trump.
     In Illinois, Trump has a commanding lead over Clinton (49 percent to 27 percent) with Independents, but 42 percent of the Kasich vote is going to Clinton while Trump receives 33 percent.
     Trump won the March 15 Illinois presidential primary, with 38.8 percent of the vote, followed by Sen. Cruz, with 30 percent, and Kasich, with 19.7 percent.
     On the Democratic side, Clinton is pulling in the support of 53 percent of Sanders voters, while Trump and Johnson each appeal to about 15 percent and 12 percent are for Stein.
     If Trump is surging anywhere on Thursday, it appears to be in Virginia, where the Roanoke College Poll finds him cutting Clinton’s lead by more than half.
     However, he still trails Clinton by a fairly significant margin, with the Democrat getting 44 percent and Trump, 37 percent.
     Gary Johnson remained steady at 8 percent among likely voters, but Jill Stein has actually dropped a little, to 1 percent. Nine percent of respondents said they are still undecided.
     The main difference between this Roanoke poll and a survey the college conducted in August is that moderates and Independents appear to be moving in Trump’s direction.
     Clinton’s lead among those describing themselves as ideological moderates has declined from 57 percent to 22 percent in August to 45 percent to 29 percent now.
     Among Independents, Clinton’s lead has narrowed from 43 percent to 25 percent in August, to 37 percent to 29 percent today.

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