Results of a new poll administered by Suffolk University were circulated. The poll asked participants from North Carolina for whom they will vote: Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton or Republican candidate Donald Trump.
Suffolk University poll results
Of those who responded, 41.0% said that they are going to vote for former First Lady Hillary Clinton, while 44.0% revealed that they would give their vote to real estate developer Donald Trump.
The poll was carried out from September 5 to September 7 among 500 likely voters. If one takes into account the poll's error margin of +/-4.4 percentage points, the results reflect a statistical tie.
Putting the results in context
In general, however, one should not have too much faith in the results of single polls, as they sometimes incorporate large errors. Instead of relying on results from single polls, the best practice scientific advice is to use combined polls or, even better, the combined PollyVote forecast that uses forecasts from different methods, each of which uses different data.
To make the results comparable to benchmark forecasts, one can translate them into two-party vote shares. The corresponding figures are 48.2% for Clinton and 51.8% for Trump.
Comparison to other polls
Trump currently achieves 49.7% of the major two-party vote in an average of recent polls in North Carolina. In comparison to her numbers in the Suffolk University poll Trump's poll average is 2.1 percentage points lower. This margin is within the poll's sampling error, which suggests that the poll is not an outlier.
Results compared to the combined PollyVote prediction
The most recent PollyVote expects Trump to gain 49.9% of the two-party vote in North Carolina. This means that Polly's prediction is 1.9 points below her polling numbers. Again, a look at the poll's error margin suggests that this deviation is negligible.