New Clinton-Trump poll shows statistical tie in Iowa

Suffolk poll also gauges attitudes on safety, Zika virus

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Thirteen weeks before Election Day, a Suffolk University poll shows the race in Iowa — often considered a “must-win” state — is a statistical dead heat. GOP nominee Donald Trump leads Democrat Hillary Clinton by 1 percentage point.

The Aug. 8-10 live telephone interviews of 500 likely voters found Trump ahead by a margin of 41 percent to 40 percent with a 4.4 percent margin of error. Another 17 percent were undecided.

When third-party candidates were added to the mix, Trump led Clinton by 37 percent to 36 percent. Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein claimed 6 percent and 3 percent.

The Suffolk poll, conducted between Iowa visits by Trump and Clinton, came one day after an NBC/Marist poll showed Clinton ahead of Trump 41 percent to 37 percent among registered voters with a 3.1 percent margin of error.

Suffolk found 62 percent of those polled said Clinton isn’t honest and trustworthy and 9 percent weren’t sure.

“She’s been dishonest and untrustworthy and will lead our country down the wrong path,” said Eric Branstad, Trump’s Iowa director and the son of Gov. Terry Branstad. “After facing countless investigations, Hillary Clinton has proved time and time again she will skirt rules and the law for her own personal gain. Today’s polling is just another indication that Iowans want a leader who will fight for them, not someone who thinks they are above the law.”

Trump was viewed as honest and trustworthy by 34 percent of respondents while 55 percent said he was not. More than 10 percent said they were not sure.

The Clinton campaign declined to comment.

In the Iowa U.S. Senate race, Suffolk found the same result as that NBC/Marist poll: Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley leading Democratic challenger Patty Judge 52 percent to 42 percent with 6 percent undecided.

By a margin of 53 percent to 31 percent, Iowans said Clinton will win.

“In Iowa, there is a marked difference between what voters will do at the polls and what voters think others will do at the polls,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston.

The tight race reflects party registration in Iowa — 33 percent Republican, 32 percent Democratic and 35 percent “no party,” he said.

Although the margin did not change in the four-way ballot test, Paleologos said the results suggest that Stein and Johnson could tilt Iowa’s outcome.

In conservative southwest Iowa, an area where Trump probably will need to carry by a wide margin, Johnson polls higher than he does statewide. In those counties, Suffolk found Johnson polling at 11 percent.

Stein’s numbers were higher with younger voters, a demographic that has shown less enthusiasm for Clinton than older voters. Among the 18-to-34 age group, Stein gets 9 percent — triple her statewide standing.

Voters cited jobs and the economy as the most important issues, ranked mostly highly by 25 percent of those surveyed. Terrorism and national security were the top priority of 21 percent. Choosing Supreme Court nominees, reducing the federal debt, health care and illegal immigration tallied 9, 7, 6 and 5 percent.

Asked whether they feel more or less safe in America than they did five to 10 years ago, 56 percent said less safe, 10 percent indicated safer, and 28 percent indicated no change.

Although the Zika threat remains low, almost two-thirds of voters said they are concerned about its spread. One-third said they were not very or not at all concerned.

See full results at www.suffolk.edu/SUPRC.

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