Columbus -- Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton remain essentially tied, according to a national poll released by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute Sept. 26, in advance of their first scheduled debate.
Clinton was favored by 44 percent of 1,115 likely voters who were questioned, versus Trump's 43 percent. Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein received 8 percent and 2 percent, respectively.
The results had a margin of error of about 3 percentage points.
Clinton and Trump were virtually tied earlier this month, too, with Clinton at 41 percent and Trump at 39 percent. Johnson had 13 percent in that poll, and Stein had 4 percent.
The results likely will translate into a big audience for the first of three presidential debates -- 84 percent of those questioned said they planned to watch.
"The race for president is a virtual tie and millions of likely voters consider the first debate must-see TV," Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a released statement. "And for those inclined to place a wager on the likely winner, Hillary Clinton is the best bet. In this Super Bowl of American politics, the ratings will be huge and the contenders start dead even."
Connecticut-based Quinnipiac regularly gauges the opinions of Ohioans and others on candidates and issues. Among other results in the Sept. 26 poll:
More than half of likely voters (55 percent) said they were more motivated than usual to vote this year.
Seventy-three percent of those questioned believe Trump is healthy enough to be president, versus 58 percent who said the same of Clinton.
Half of voters are "very" or "somewhat" concerned that they or a family member will be the victim of a terrorist attack. And 51 percent of voters said they didn't think the government's anti-terror policies had gone far enough to adequately protect the country.
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.