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Poll: Clinton Maintains National Lead Over Trump Despite FBI Letter

by Hannah Hartig, John Lapinski and Stephanie Psyllos /  / Updated 
Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets patrons at Angie's Soul Cafe on Oct. 31, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. With just over a week to go until election day, Hillary Clinton is campaigning in the battleground state of Ohio.Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

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Hillary Clinton’s 6-point national lead over Donald Trump remains virtually unchanged since last week, even after FBI Director James Comey announced the discovery of emails that could be “pertinent” to the investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server.

The NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll showed Clinton with a 6-point lead over Trump in the days prior to the Comey news. When looking at the data for Saturday and Sunday only, her lead remained the same — 47 percent to Trump’s 41 percent. The poll was conducted online from October 24 through October 30. Questions about Comey’s announcement were included on October 29 and October 30.

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Results for the entire week of the tracking poll show that in a four-way match-up, Clinton enjoys 47 percent support among likely voters, while Trump holds onto 41 percent support. Gary Johnson drops a single point to 6 percent support, and Jill Stein has 3 percent support. In a two-way race, Clinton enjoys a 7-point lead over Trump, with 51 percent support compared to Trump’s 44 percent.

On Friday, FBI Director Comey sent a letter to Congress stating that the bureau would be reviewing emails that may be related the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private server during her tenure as secretary of state. The emails—which were uncovered during an unrelated investigation of former New York congressman Anthony Weiner, federal officials told NBC News—came as a huge surprise to the Clinton campaign just 11 days ahead of the general election.

The Democratic nominee — as well as several prominent party leaders—expressed confusion and anger with the announcement. When asked whether she thought the news would affect the election, Clinton said, “I think people made up their minds a long time ago.”

Likely voters were split on whether they thought the controversial announcement by the FBI was an important issue to discuss or more of a distraction to the campaign. A slight majority of likely voters nationwide—55 percent—said it was an important issue. Forty-four percent said the news was more of a distraction to the campaign.

Perhaps expectedly, there were sharp differences in opinion by party. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters, 83 percent said Comey’s announcement was a distraction. Among Republicans and Republican-leaning voters, 93 percent said the announcement was an important issue to discuss. Among likely Independent voters who do not lean towards either party, 68 percent said it was an important issue to discuss while 31 percent said it was a distraction to the campaign.

With the election just eight days away, Clinton campaign officials and other party leaders have called for further details about the announcement. But while a slight majority of likely voters overall said the announcement is important to discuss, support for Clinton and Trump remained unchanged.

The NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking poll was conducted online October 24 through October 30, 2016 among a national sample of 40,816 adults who are likely to vote. Respondents for this non-probability survey were selected from the nearly three million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Results have an error estimate of plus or minus 1.0 percentage points. For full results and methodology, click here.

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