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Poll: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are neck and neck ahead of first presidential debate


It's a virtual dead heat.

A debate sign hangs on a wall outside the media center setup for the first U.S. presidential debate at Hofstra University on Saturday. (Getty Images/Joe Raedle)

On the eve of the first presidential debate, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her Republican challenger Donald Trump are in a virtual dead heat, according to the latest Washington Post/ABC News national poll.

The poll, released Sunday, found that among likely voters, Clinton has the slightest of leads over Trump — just two points, 46 percent to 44 percent. Those numbers are well within the poll's 4.5 point margin-of-error.

Large images of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump are seen on a CNN vehicle, behind a security fence on Saturday. (Getty Images/PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP)

Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson received five percent of support in the poll, while Jill Stein of the Green Party registered just a single point.

Among the broader group of registered voters, Clinton and Trump were tied at 41 percent each. Johnson and Stein registered seven percent and two percent, respectively, among the group.

The poll shows that as the election gets closer to Election Day in November, the race continues to tighten. The same poll had Clinton leading by eight points in August and five points earlier in September.

However, the poll's respondents overwhelmingly said they believe Clinton is more qualified to be president than her counterpart. According to the poll, 59 percent said Clinton is qualified to serve as commander-in-chief while just 41 percent said the same of Trump.

Respondents also believe that Clinton will win Monday's debate. When asked, 47 percent said Clinton would win while just 33 percent said Trump would be victorious.

The poll of 834 registered voters was conducted between Sept. 19-22.

Monday's debate begins at 9 p.m. EST and will be moderated by NBC anchor Lester Holt. It will take place at Hofstra University.

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