Polls in the US right now show Hillary Clinton out in front. As the New York Times national average has it, the Democrat holds a five point lead. But another poll is turning the idea that the election is a sure win for Clinton on its head.

Today's "Daybreak" poll from The Los Angeles Times and political research centres at USC Dornsife actually shows the election is a near dead heat with Trump out in front with 44.3% of the vote, and Clinton with 44.2%.

Contrary to many national polling averages, the poll has often shown Trump in the lead since it began in July.

"A lot of readers have noticed that our USC/Los Angeles Times Daybreak tracking poll is different from other polls," explained David Lauter, LA Times/Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau chief last weekend as he answered questions in a story about why their poll is an outlier.

The poll tracks 3,000 voters each day until election day. The other difference is in the questions it asks.

"The Daybreak poll asks people to estimate, on a scale of 0 to 100, how likely they are to vote for each of the two major candidates," wrote Lauter. The estimates are then combined to make the daily forecast.

This approach aims to measure how certain voters are in their commitment to one of the candidates rather than most polls that ask whether they will vote for Trump or Clinton 'Yes' or 'No'.

Other polls, like the New York Times' national polling average, pull together the numbers from 10 polls over the previous week.

Others couldn't paint a more different picture. One from Five Thirty Eight measures voting intention state by state and currently shows Clinton's chances of winning at 85.6%, and Trump's chances at 14.4%.

Just a month ago those numbers stood at 61.1% for Clinton and 38.9% for Trump.

The vote on November 8, however, will likely come down to five key swing states: Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Ohio. These have among the highest highest Electoral College votes that can push an election one way or another.

Still, there is something to be said for the LA Times poll. During the 2012 election it predicted Obama's win with a 3.32% margin. The actual result was 3.85% — making it one of the most accurate in the country.

The controversy around Trump's treatment of women that took centre stage in campaign this week may still not have shown up in the LA Times poll though. Its daily updates are based on an average from responses the previous week.

"Obviously, the poll's results have been an outlier compared with other surveys," wrote Lauter, "but if ever there was a year when the outlier might be right, it's this year."