Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are running close in North Carolina, according to a new Suffolk University poll conducted entirely after this week’s second debate.
The poll, conducted from Monday through Wednesday, shows Clinton leading Trump, 45 percent to 43 percent. Libertarian Gary Johnson is at 5 percent, and a combined 7 percent of likely voters are undecided or declined to answer.
Clinton’s narrow advantage over Trump is well within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
The poll shows a significant gender gap: Male voters prefer Trump by 11 points, the same margin by which Clinton leads among women. And while Trump has a 23-point lead among white voters, Clinton leads by 78 points among blacks.
Trump is winning just as high a share of registered Republicans (83 percent) as Clinton is winning registered Democrats (81 percent). Independent voters tilt slightly toward Trump, 42 percent to 35 percent.
Suffolk’s previous poll in North Carolina, conducted five weeks prior, showed Trump with a 3-point lead over Clinton, 44 percent to 41 percent.
Among likely voters who watched Sunday night’s debate, 42 percent said Clinton won that encounter, similar to the 41 percent who picked Trump as the winner. They mostly viewed the debate through their own partisan prisms: 86 percent of Clinton voters said she won the debate, while 79 percent of Trump supporters said he won.
The only question in the poll about the leaked Trump “Access Hollywood” tape is whether it changed voters’ minds about Trump: Only 14 percent said it changed their mind, while 69 percent — including three-quarters of Trump voters — said it didn’t change their opinion of Trump.
In the state’s closely watched Senate race, incumbent Republican Richard Burr leads Democrat Deborah Ross by 4 points, 40 percent to 36 percent. But a significant number of likely voters — 24 percent — say they will vote for a Libertarian candidate, are undecided or refused to answer.