Trump draws even with Clinton in national White House poll

Clinton In NJ, Trump On LI

WASHINGTON, May 11 (Reuters) - Republican Donald Trump pulled even with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Wednesday, in a dramatic early sign that the Nov. 8 presidential election might be more hotly contested than first thought.

SEE ALSO: Bernie Sanders to MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell: 'Please do not moan to me about Hillary Clinton's problems'

While much can change in the six months until the election, the results of the online survey are a red flag for the Clinton campaign that the billionaire's unorthodox bid for the White House cannot be brushed aside.

Trump's numbers surged after he effectively won the Republican nomination last week by knocking out his two remaining rivals, according to the poll.

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Trump draws even with Clinton in national White House poll
Supporters John Nelson, 32, (L) and Dan Stifler, 32, cheer U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as she arrives to speak on stage at the UFCW Union Local 324 in Buena Park, California, U.S. May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Supporters cheer on U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as she speaks during a campaign stop in Sacramento, California, United States June 5, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Supporter Monica Brown pins a Hillary Clinton button to her 2008 Hillary campaign t-shirt as she prepares for the arrival of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clintons visit to at a small restaurant in Vallejo, California, United States June 5, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake ATTENTION EDITORS - EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
Supporters await the arrival of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at a campaign stop in Fresno, California, United States June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A Hillary supporter yells out with a picture of Donald Trump on her phone as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign stop in Fresno, California, United States June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Supporters cheers as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign stop at a high school in Oxnard, California, United States June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Supporters hold a sign as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton makes a campaign stop in San Bernardino, California, United States June 3, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes a selfie with supporters during a campaign stop in San Bernardino, California, United States June 3, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Supporters cheer on U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as she speaks at a campaign stop in San Bernardino, California, United States June 3, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A young supporter cheers as she awaits the arrival of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at a "Women for Hillary" event in Culver City, California, United States, June 3, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A supporter wears a sunglasses adorned with logos of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during a campaign event in San Francisco, California, U.S. May 26, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A supporter listens as Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign event in San Francisco, California, U.S. May 26, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Supporters listen to Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speak at a campaign event in San Jose, California, U.S. May 26, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Women cheer for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the UFCW Union Local 324 in Buena Park, California, U.S. May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A supporter cheers as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the UFCW Union Local 324 in Buena Park, California, U.S. May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Supporters listen to U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speak at the UFCW Union Local 324 in Buena Park, California, U.S. May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A supporter cheers for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as she speaks at the University of California Riverside in Riverside, California, U.S. May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
Marlena Steinbach, 9, (L) and her sister Ella Steinbach, 15, cheer the motorcade of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton outside the IBEW union hall where Clinton was due to speak in Commerce, California, U.S., May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Artist Gretchen Baer of BisBee, Arizona, stands next to the "Hillcar", a car she painted and decorated in support of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, as she stands on a street in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S. April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE
Six-year-old Kayla Johnson (C) her mother Andrea (L) and friend London Walters (R) react as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton enters the Garrick-Boykin Human Development Center at Morris College in Sumter, South Carolina, February 24, 2016. REUTERS/Randall Hill
Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton arrive to attend a primary night event during Pennsylvania's primary election on April 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Voters cast ballots in five northeastern states, with frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both looking to overwhelm their respective Democratic and Republican rivals in the race for the White House / AFP / EDUARDO MUNOZ (Photo credit should read EDUARDO MUNOZ/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A car with the face of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders drives past a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Broad Street during Pennsylvania's primary election on April 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Voters cast ballots in five northeastern states, with frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both looking to overwhelm their respective Democratic and Republican rivals in the race for the White House. / AFP / EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ (Photo credit should read EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton attend a "Women for Hillary" campaign rally in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S. April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
A supporter fans herself as Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at Southwest College in Los Angeles, California, United States, April 16, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A supporter holds up an action figure of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton before Clinton spoke at Southwest College in Los Angeles, California, United States, April 16, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 06: Supporters look on as democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally on May 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. Hillary Clinton is campaigning in California ahead of the State's presidential primary on June 7th. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets supporters after a town hall meeting at Cumberland United Methodist Church in Florence, South Carolina February 25, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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The national survey found 41 percent of likely voters supporting Clinton and 40 percent backing Trump, with 19 percent undecided. The survey of 1,289 people was conducted over five days and has a credibility interval of 3 percentage points.

"Very happy to see these numbers," Trump said in a written comment to Reuters. "Good direction." A spokesman for Clinton's campaign did not respond to requests for comment on the poll.

A Reuters/Ipsos survey conducted in the five days to May 4 had the former secretary of state at 48 percent and the New York magnate at 35 percent.

Republican strategist Dave Carney said the Reuters/Ipsos poll showed the vulnerability of Clinton, who is still battling U.S. Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination.

"She has been in the public eye for decades, served in high office, and now she's in a dead heat with Trump, in a race that everyone thought she would win easily," said Carney, who has been critical of Trump. "Everyone thought it would be a romp."

REPUBLICAN RELUCTANCE

Trump has his own problems, though. He is struggling to bring some senior Republicans behind his campaign after primary election battles in which his fiery rhetoric rankled party elites.

Several Republican leaders -- including House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan -- are withholding their support.

"After a tough primary, that's going to take some effort," Ryan said about unifying the party. "We are committed to putting that effort in."

The former reality TV star will face pressure to tone down his rhetoric and clarify his policy positions when he visits Republican lawmakers, including Ryan, on Thursday.

Clinton's loss in the Democratic primary election in West Virginia on Tuesday also signaled possible trouble for her in industrial states in November, underscoring how she still needs to court working-class voters in the Rust Belt.

Roughly six in 10 voters in West Virginia, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in country, said they were very worried about the direction of the U.S. economy in the next few years, according to a preliminary ABC News exit poll.

The same proportion cited the economy and jobs as the most important issue in the election.

(Additional reporting by Alana Wise, Megan Cassella, Emily Stephenson Timothy Ahmann and Susan Cornwell; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Alistair Bell)

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