WASHINGTON: Democrat Hillary Clinton maintained her lead over Republican Donald Trump in their race for the White House, even in the wake of renewed scrutiny of her use of a private email server, a poll showed Monday.
Barely a week from the election, the NBC News/SurveyMonkey weekly poll showed Clinton’s six-point national lead remained essentially unchanged since last week.
FBI Director James Comey’s announcement on Friday of the recent discovery of emails that could be “pertinent” to the agency’s investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server while she served as secretary of state had little impact on voters, the October 24-30 online poll found.
Results of the week’s tracking poll showed that, in a four-way race including two “third-party” candidates, Clinton is supported by 47 percent of likely supporters while Trump maintains 41 percent support.
Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson dropped a single percentage point to six percent support, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein had three percent support.
In a race with just the major party candidates, Clinton has a seven-point lead over Trump, with 51 percent in favor compared with his 44 percent, in the final stretch ahead of the November 8 election.
The pollsters included questions about Comey’s announcement on Saturday and Sunday.
The poll showed likely voters were split on whether they thought the FBI announcement it was an important issue to discuss — 55 percent — or more of a distraction to the campaign — 44 percent.
For independent voters who do not lean toward either party, 68 percent said it was an important issue, while 31 percent said it was a distraction.
The poll was conducted among 40,816 people considered likely voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus one percentage point.
Clinton tried to pivot away from attacks on her protection of US secrets Monday, warning against her White House rival Donald Trump being allowed control of US nuclear launch codes.
In a barnstorming final push before the November 8 presidential vote, Trump has seized upon a renewed FBI inquiry into Clinton’s controversial use of a private email server while secretary of state.
But, with no sign anything concrete will come of the FBI probe before polling day, Clinton believes she can face down the challenge and return to the issue of Trump’s fitness to lead a nuclear power.
In Kent, Ohio, she was introduced by Bruce Blair, a former US missile launch officer who organized a joint letter from former colleagues arguing that Trump should not be trusted with nuclear codes.
Clinton, pointing to Trump’s numerous angry blowups on the trail and often confused responses to questions on security issues, painted him as a dangerous hothead who could trigger Armageddon.
“Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis,” the 69-year-old Democrat said of her Republican rival Trump, a 70-year-old New York property mogul turned reality television star.
“Imagine him plunging us into a war because somebody got under his very thin skin. I hope you’ll think about that when you cast your vote.”
In parallel to the blood-curdling new stump speech, Clinton issued an ad recalling the renowned 1964 “Daisy Girl” television spot that then president Lyndon Johnson used to paint his challenger Barry Goldwater as a danger to all human life.