Suffolk University released the results of a new poll, in which respondents from North Carolina were asked for whom they will vote: Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump.
Suffolk University poll results
Of those who answered the question, 45.0% said that they are going to vote for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whereas 43.0% revealed that they would give their vote to billionaire Donald Trump.
This poll was conducted from October 10 to October 12, among a random sample of 500 likely voters. The margin of error is +/-4.4 percentage points, which means that the poll results for Clinton and Trump do not differ significantly.
Putting the results in context
As a general rule, however, a good strategy is to not have too much faith in the results of single polls, since they sometimes incorporate large errors. Rather, one should examine how a poll's results compare to benchmark forecasts.
For the following analysis, we convert Trump's and Clinton's raw poll numbers into shares of the two-party vote. This procedure results in values of 51.1% for Clinton and 48.9% for Trump.
Results vs. other polls
Looking at an average of North Carolina polls, Clinton's current two-party vote share is at 51.8%. This value is 0.7 percentage points higher than her respective numbers in the Suffolk University poll. This deviation is within the poll's error margin, which suggests that the poll is not an outlier.
Comparison to the combined PollyVote
The current PollyVote expects Clinton to gain 50.3% of the two-party vote in North Carolina. This means that Polly's forecast is 0.8 points below her polling numbers. Again, a look at the poll's margin of error suggests that this difference is negligible.