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Clinton extends lead in NC; pulls to tie in FL, says pre-FBI news polls

Hillary Clinton visits a 'get out the vote' brunch sponsored by the Miami Young Democrats in Miami, Sunday, October 30, 2016.
Melina Mara | The Washington Post | Getty Images
Hillary Clinton visits a 'get out the vote' brunch sponsored by the Miami Young Democrats in Miami, Sunday, October 30, 2016.

Hillary Clinton has moved to a clear lead over Donald Trump in North Carolina, while the two candidates are tied in Florida, new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls show.

The surveys, conducted before the release on Friday of FBI Director James Comey's letter about newly-discovered material in its probe of Clinton's emails, underscore the electoral challenge facing Trump even as some national polls show a tightening race.

Both Florida and North Carolina are must-win states for the Republican nominee. North Carolina was one of the state's Mitt Romney carried while amassing 206 electoral votes in his loss to President Obama in 2012. Florida's 29 electoral vote represent a critical building block for moving that total toward the 270 needed to win the presidency.

In the Tar Heel state, which Obama carried in 2008, Clinton leads Trump by 47 percent to 41 percent, with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson drawing 8 percent. Green Party candidate Jill Stein is not on the ballot in North Carolina. That represents an expanded lead from her four-point advantage earlier in October.

In Florida, twice carried by Obama, Clinton is locked in a statistical tie. She draws 45 percent to 44 percent for Trump, 5 percent for Johnson, and 2 percent for Stein. That represents a narrowing of her three-percentage point edge earlier in October.

The telephone poll of 780 North Carolina likely voters, conducted Oct. 25-26, carries a margin for error of 3.5 percentage points. So does the telephone poll of 779 Florida likely voters, also conducted Oct 25-26.


—By CNBC's John Harwood. Follow him on Twitter: @JohnJHarwood