With the presidential election less than eight weeks away, the race is too close to call in Virginia, according to a poll released Thursday.
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton held a 3-percentage-point lead over Republican Donald Trump among likely voters, but the spread is within the margin of error, according to a telephone survey commissioned by the University of Mary Washington’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies.
Clinton’s lead was wider – 5 percentage points – when the pollsters included the results of all registered voters surveyed, not just those who say they’re likely to vote Nov. 8.
Voters remain unhappy with both major party candidates. Sixty percent have unfavorable views of both and most don’t consider either to be honest and trustworthy, the survey found.
Among likely voters, Clinton was favored by 40 percent, Trump by 37 percent and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson 8 percent, with all other candidates together getting 4 percent. Nine percent of those polled were undecided or wouldn’t say.
The landline and cellphone survey of 685 likely voters, conducted Sept. 6-12, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points for results involving likely voters. The margin drops to 3.9 percentage points when calculating the results with all 852 registered voters who were contacted.
The Mary Washington poll contrasts with the conclusions of two independent websites that aggregate the results of several polls.
RealClearPolitics.com and FiveThirtyEight.com, which do not include the new poll, say Clinton is leading in Virginia. For example, FiveThirtyEight projected that Clinton leads Trump 44 percent to 38 percent among likely voters.
The new Virginia poll also reported that likely voters gave Clinton higher marks than Trump for leadership qualities and the “right kind of temperament and personality to be a good president.”
Although the Census Bureau reported Tuesday that average household incomes rose 5.2 percent nationally in 2015 – the largest one-year increase since at least the 1960s – most of those polled apparently weren’t feeling it. The same Census data showed that Virginia’s median income dropped almost 8 percent. It went from $66,231 in 2014 to $61,486 last year when adjusted for inflation.
Those surveyed were almost evenly split between those who felt the economy was worse than a year ago, better than last year or about the same.
This story originally appeared on PilotOnline.com.