2016 election polls: Where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump stand before the first debate

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The first of three televised debates between  Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump wrapped up Friday night. While it'll be some time before viewers know how the candidates' performances affected their standing in the polls, here's where Trump and Clinton ranked ahead of the debates. 

Six weeks ago, Hillary Clinton led Donald Trump by double-digits in some polls. Her average lead was more than seven percentage points. Third party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein were on the rise. But no more. 

Before the first presidential debate, Trump and Clinton have essentially tied. All national polls released in the last three days show Trump vs. Clinton in the margin of error. Clinton's lead in the four-way race is 1.5 points going into the debate. 

National polls overview

Polls have showed the presidential race tightening for weeks. But a spate of new surveys from respected pollsters suggests the race is truly close. 

New ABC News/Washington Post and Quinnipiac polls give Clinton a slight edge. But a new Bloomberg poll puts Trump up by two points. A whopping 64% of Americans say the country is on the wrong track. 

Projections still give Clinton a higher chance of winning the electoral college than Trump. But Trump undoubtedly has an opportunity to pull ahead of the Democratic nominee in the first debate. 

Trump bounce in swing states

State polls do not always mirror the national trend. In late August, as Trump began his steady ascent in the national polls, battleground state polls still showed Clinton with a clear lead. 

State polls do not always mirror the national trend. In late August, as Trump began his steady ascent in the national polls, battleground state polls still showed Clinton with a clear lead. 

But now, state polls show Trump leading in several must-win states for the Republican nominee. Trump now leads Clinton in Florida, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio — states where the Democrat led a month ago. Trump's lead in these places is tenuous: He is virtually tied with Clinton in Florida and North Carolina. And Clinton is close to the self-described billionaire in Arizona.

Trump's electoral challenges have been well-documented. He hopes to make large enough gains with white voters to offset Clinton's lead among minority voters. Recent polls can give Trump supporters hope he could win the states he needs. Colorado polling has turned in the Republican's favor — giving Trump a pathway to victory if he can bring home Florida, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio. 

The most-watched presidential debate

Journalists and pundits have been hyping Monday night's debate for weeks, expecting it to be the "most-viewed" presidential debate in history. Some have projected up to 100 million people may watch the 90-minute debate. More than 67 million people watched the first debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012. 

Romney's performance in the first debate helped his polling numbers. But Obama performed better in debates two and three, negating any Romney post-debate polling bump. Initial polls conveying the impact of the first debate on voters will be available by the end of the week.  

With a vast majority of likely voters watching, the first Trump vs. Clinton debate has finally arrived.

Sept. 26, 2016, 11:00 p.m. Eastern: This story has been updated.