Three Breitbart/Gravis state polls of likely voters — Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina — demonstrate how close the presidential election between Democrat Hillary R. Clinton and her GOP rival Donald J. Trump has become just before the first presidential debate.
In Minnesota, Clinton and Trump are tied with each having 43 percent of the vote, said Doug Kaplan, the managing director of Gravis Marketing, the Florida-based polling firm that executed the poll.
In Pennsylvania, Clinton leads Trump with 46 percent to his 43 percent, and in North Carolina the former first lady leads Trump 44 percent to the New York City developer’s 43 percent, he said.
Before unlikely voters were filtered out of the sample population, the results were similar with candidates tied in Minnesota and Clinton up one point in North Carolina and up two points in Pennsylvania.
Democratic pollster Patrick Caddell told Breitbart News: “Trump is closing everywhere and states that have not been in play are coming into play, like Minnesota.”
Caddell said those states that had been considered battleground states are not moving as fast, but all are inside the margin of error.
In the battleground states, the Clinton campaign has built the infrastructure and made the investments, so they have the ability to fight there what is becoming a national tide, he said.
“Part of that is because the Clinton campaign, well both campaigns, but particularly the Clinton campaign has spent so much of its money–pouring millions into those states to hold onto a point or two–probably the least efficient cost-benefit I have ever seen,” he said.
“Minnesota is a perfect example,” he added.
“Minnesota has been a close state in past elections, even though the Democrats always seem to win it, it was close in 2000 and 2004,” he said.
“We are now seeing a consistent pattern, where both candidates have high negatives, but where there is a developing — a possible break issue is the concern over terrorist activity — it worries them, 40 percent or higher in all three states,” he said.
Connected to the anxiety over terrorism is the question of refugees, he said.
Asked about President Barack Obama’s plan to increase the annual number of refugees in the country from 85,000 to 110,000 and Clinton’s plan to increase the annual number of refugees, in all three states people are opposed, he said.
“If that issue comes into center play–particularly in the debate tonight–we could have a huge voting issue that helps voters who are floating around or in conflict resolve that for Trump,” he said. Often elections are decided when the voters who are hiding as undecided begin to resolve around a flash point issue.
“North Carolina is hard to read right now given the shooting and riots in Charlotte,” he said. “But, when we see Burr losing, too, at there, too, this shows me there it is still moving around. I assume it will break one way or the other.”
In the Tarheel senate race, Republican Sen. Richard M. Burr is trailing Democrat state Rep. Deborah K. Ross with 39 percent to her 48 percent.
“North Carolina just continues to be ‘tight as a tick,’ as Dan Rather would say,” he said.
“I would also point out that Pennsylvania and North Carolina were given lots of attention and money, huge amounts of money, and they seem to be most static,” he said.
“Pennsylvania has Trump closing from a big Hillary lead, but not at fast as other states,” he said.
In the senate race, Republican Sen. Patrick J. Toomey trails Democrat Kathleen A. “Katie” McGinty, with 39 percent to the former EPA official’s 43 percent.
Kaplan said, “The national presidential polls are about the horse race, but it is in the states where the candidates put real numbers on the scoreboard.”
“We saw the national polls moving towards Trump, really after Labor Day, but in the states Clinton was still in the lead,” he said.
“What people were describing as a disconnect, as if the states and the national were on independent tracks, we now see as the state polls and the national polls line up that the states were just lagging,” he said.
The Pennsylvania poll was conducted Sept. 23 with 949 likely voters and carries a margin of error of 3.2 percent with a 95 percent level of confidence.
The North Carolina poll was conducted Sept. 23 with 694 likely voters and carries a margin of error of 3.7 percent with a 95 percent level of confidence.
The Minnesota poll was conducted Sept. 23 with 906 likely voters and carries a margin of error of 3.3 percent with a 95 percent level of confidence.
All polls were executed using automated phone calls and results were weighted to match a proprietary turnout model.