Virtual tie? YouGov poll shows Trump within 3 points of Hillary

If the Reuters/Ipsos poll results were a Debbie Downer, then the latest from YouGov/Economist should be positively Pollyanna-ish. The tracking poll results from the last week shows no hint of the decline demonstrated in the Reuters series. Instead, Donald Trump has actually picked up three points and now trails Hillary Clinton within the same amount:


The difference extends to four points in the four-way race, but still puts Trump within the margin of error at 42/38. Trump picked up the most support over the last week in both questions, which indicates that his campaign might have turned the corner on a bad start in August. However, he’s still more unfavorable (35/63) than Hillary (44/53), and that would usually portend difficulty in capturing whatever upside is left among the undecided.

There are a few points to keep in mind, however. YouGov polled registered voters for these results, not LVs as in the Reuters poll. However, that shouldn’t produce these kinds of dramatic changes, and one would expect the changes to go in the other direction anyway. The margin of error in this poll is ±4.1%, a little wider than in Reuters. The upside on the Reuters results would be Trump at 36%; the downside here would be Trump at 40%, still a significant difference.

It’s fair to wonder which poll is the outlier — or whether both of them are. We can look at the RCP average for the race since the conventions to see the overall trajectory of polling (which includes this YouGov result but not the earlier Reuters poll). The gap is now Hillary +5.4, which puts the race closer to the YouGov result:


Here’s another point to boost Trump supporters looking at both polls, too. The Reuters result was sharply different from last week’s Hillary +5, which is usually a good cause for skepticism. The YouGov/Economist poll has a three-point change in the gap, within the MoE, which looks a bit more reasonable without a dramatic event that would impact the polling.

Still, that’s not to say that the race actually is tightening. If it is, we should see the same trend in other national polling … and the same can be said for a building blowout, too.