Results of a new national poll carried out by LA Times were circulated. The poll asked participants for whom they will vote: Republican nominee Donald Trump or Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton.
LA Times poll results
The results show that 44.0% of participants will vote for former New York Senator Hillary Clinton, while 46.0% intend to vote for businessman Donald Trump.
The poll was conducted from September 30 to October 6. A total of 2632 respondents responded. There is a sampling error of +/-4.5 percentage points. Considering this error margin, the race is currently a statistical tie.
Putting the results in context
As a general rule, however, you should not have too much faith in the results of single polls, as they may contain large errors. At least, one should check how a poll's results compare to benchmark forecasts.
For the following comparison, we translate Clinton's and Trump's raw poll numbers into shares of the two-party vote. This yields figures of 48.9% for Clinton and 51.1% for Trump. To compare: Only 47.8% was obtained by Clinton in the LA Times poll on October 3, for Trump this result was 52.2%.
Results compared to other polls
An average of recent polls has Trump at 47.7% of the two-party vote. This value is 3.4 percentage points lower than corresponding numbers in the LA Times poll. This deviation is within the poll's margin of error, which means that the poll is not an outlier.
Results compared to the combined PollyVote prediction
The most recent PollyVote foresees Trump to gain 47.4% of the two-party vote. That is, the PollyVote is 3.7 points below polling numbers. Again, a look at the poll's sampling error shows that this difference is negligible.