Results of a new poll carried out by Suffolk University were circulated. The poll asked respondents from North Carolina for whom they will vote: Republican nominee Donald Trump or Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton.
Suffolk University poll results
The results show that 41.0% of respondents are going to vote for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whereas 44.0% intend to vote for billionaire Donald Trump.
The poll was conducted from September 5 to September 7. A total of 500 likely voters responded. The sampling error is +/-4.4 points, which means that the levels of voter support for Trump and Clinton do not differ significantly.
Putting the results in context
In general, however, you should not have too much faith in the results of single polls, since they sometimes contain large errors. At the very least, one should examine how a poll's results compare to benchmark forecasts.
For the following analysis, we convert Clinton's and Trump's raw poll numbers into two-party vote shares. This procedure yields figures of 48.2% for Clinton and 51.8% for Trump.
Results vs. other polls
If we look at an average of North Carolina polls, Trump's current two-party vote share is at 50.0%. This value is 1.8 percentage points lower than her respective numbers in the Suffolk University poll. This difference is within the poll's error margin, which suggests that the poll is not an outlier.
Results compared to the combined PollyVote prediction
The latest PollyVote anticipates Trump to gain 49.8% of the two-party vote in North Carolina. This means that Polly's prediction is 2.0 points below her polling numbers. Again, a look at the poll's error margin reveals that this deviation is insignificant.