Emerson released the results of a new poll, in which respondents from Virginia were asked for whom they will vote: Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump.
Virginia is traditionally a swing state, where the two major political parties have often won similar voter support. This is the reason why the election outcome here is viewed as important in determining the overall result of the presidential election.
Emerson poll results
Of those who answered the question, 46.0% said that they intend to vote for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while 43.0% indicated that they would give their vote to billionaire Donald Trump.
The poll was conducted from October 10 to October 12 with 600 likely voters. The sampling error is +/-3.9 percentage points. This means that the levels of voter support for both candidates do not differ significantly.
Putting the results in context
As any other method, polls are subject to bias. In general, one should not have too much faith in the results of a single poll. At the very least, one should examine how a poll's results compare to benchmark forecasts.
For the following comparison, we translate Trump's and Clinton's raw poll numbers into shares of the two-party vote. The corresponding figures are 51.7% for Clinton and 48.3% for Trump.
Results compared to other polls
Looking at an average of Virginia polls, Clinton's current two-party vote share is at 56.5%. This value is 4.8 percentage points higher than her respective numbers in the Emerson poll. This deviation is outside the poll's margin of error, which suggests that the poll is an outlier.
The poll in comparison with PollyVote's forecast
The latest PollyVote forecasts Clinton to gain 52.6% of the two-party vote in Virginia. Hence, Polly's prediction is 0.9 points above her polling numbers. The PollyVote forecast is therefore within the poll's sampling error.