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National Poll Shows Clinton Losing Ground to Trump as Election Day Approaches

  • Wayne Lee

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Open Door Christian Academy, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, in Lisbon, Maine.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Open Door Christian Academy, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, in Lisbon, Maine.

A new national poll released Saturday morning showed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's lead over Republican rival Donald Trump had narrowed significantly even before the FBI disclosed it had new evidence about use of her private email server as secretary of state.

The ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll showed Clinton clinging to a slim 47 percent-to-45 percent lead over Trump among likely voters, a dramatic decline from her commanding 50 percent-to 38-percent advantage less than a week ago.

FBI Director James Comey announced Friday that his agency was looking into whether there was classified information on a communications device that belonged to Anthony Weiner, the disgraced former congressman whose estranged wife is longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

The latest poll results that showed Clinton losing ground were based on four nights of interviews that began Monday and ended Thursday, a day before the FBI said it had new evidence about Clinton's email server.

The previous four-night tracking poll that showed Clinton ahead by 12 percentage points was conducted October 20-23.

The most recent findings attributed Trump's gains to more enthusiasm among Republicans, even before Friday's news about Clinton. The previous tracking poll showed 75 percent of registered Republicans were classified as likely voters, compared with 81 percent in the most recent poll.

The most recent poll results were based on interviews with 1,148 likely voters. The poll had a margin of error of 3 percentage points in either direction.

The latest news about Clinton may reinforce existing views about her trustworthiness. Earlier news accounts about her emails caused Clinton to fall in the polls during earlier points in her campaign. A Fox News poll released several days ago found that only 30 percent of likely voters viewed Clinton as trustworthy.

The Fox poll numbers were equally dismal among voters who said they were Clinton supporters. Thirty-two percent of those respondents deemed Clinton honest or trustworthy.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Open Door Christian Academy, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, in Lisbon, Maine.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Open Door Christian Academy, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, in Lisbon, Maine.

Another new survey showed voters divided about American democracy and the presidential candidates' respect for it.

The survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center, found that 56 percent of registered voters thought Trump had little or no respect for the "nation's democratic institutions and traditions," compared with 43 percent who said Trump had a great deal or fair amount of respect for them.

The survey also found that 83 percent of Clinton supporters thought it was important for the loser of the election to recognize the legitimacy of the winner of the presidency, a sharp contrast to only 48 percent of Trump supporters.

On the question of whether news organizations should be free to criticize political leaders, 72 percent of those in Clinton's camp thought they should, compared with 49 percent of those in support of Trump.

The survey also found an overwhelming majority of Clinton supporters, 86 percent, thought people have the right to nonviolent protest, while 69 percent of Trump's supporters thought so.

There was more agreement among supporters of the two candidates when asked whether the rights of people with unpopular views should be protected. Eighty-two percent of Clinton's supporters responded affirmatively, compared with 71 percent of Trump's.

The survey found a nearly equal percentage of supporters of both major party presidential candidates agreed that national U.S. elections are open and fair. Ninety-three percent of Clinton's supporters agreed, compared with 91 percent of Trump's supporters.

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