LA Times published the results of a new national poll. In this poll, interviewees were asked for whom they will vote: Republican nominee Donald Trump or Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton.
LA Times poll results
The results show that 42.0% of interviewees said that they plan to vote for former New York Senator Hillary Clinton, while 45.0% plan to vote for businessman Donald Trump.
The poll was conducted between August 27 and September 2. The sample size was 2576 participants. If one takes into account the poll's sampling error of +/-4.5 percentage points, the results reflect a statistical tie.
Putting the results in context
In general, however, you should not have too much faith in the results of single polls, as they may contain large errors. At the very least, one should examine how a poll's results compare to benchmark forecasts.
For the following comparison, we translate the candidates' raw poll numbers into shares of the two-party vote. This procedure results in figures of 48.3% for Clinton and 51.7% for Trump. For comparison: 49.4% was obtained by Clinton in the LA Times poll on September 2, for Trump this result was only 50.6%.
Comparison to other polls
An average of recent polls sees Trump at 47.7% of the two-party vote. This value is 4 percentage points lower than corresponding numbers in the LA Times poll. This difference is within the poll's margin of error, which suggests that the poll is not an outlier.
Comparison to the combined PollyVote
The latest PollyVote forecasts Trump to gain 46.8% of the two-party vote. Hence, the combined PollyVote is 4.9 points below polling numbers. Again, a look at the poll's sampling error suggests that this deviation is significant.