The numbers have begun to tighten as D-Day, Tuesday, November 8 (tomorrow), approaches amid crises affecting both Democratic contender, Hillary Clinton and her Republican rival, Donald Trump.
The bad news for Hillary Clinton is that the polls had already begun to tighten both nationally and in some key battleground states before FBI chief James Comey announced a new inquiry into her email use.
In the ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll for example, Mrs Clinton was ahead of Donald Trump by 12 points on 23 October, but that lead had narrowed to one point a week later.
Enthusiasm for Mrs. Clinton had slipped slightly in that poll; with the number of her supporters who said they were very enthusiastic about her down from 51% to 47%.
Polls do tend to tighten as Election Day approaches anyway, but at the moment, it’s unclear what effect news of the FBI inquiry will have.
In a CBS poll of 13 battleground states, 52% of voters said they expected the emails to contain “more of what we already know” and most of those who said they were less likely to vote for Mrs Clinton were Republicans.
On his part, Donald Trump has been hit by several scandals since his campaign began. The most notable was the release on 7 October of a video in which he can be heard boasting about sexually assaulting women. He said his comments were “just words” and denied ever having groped a woman — but several have since come forward alleging just that.
This would have been enough to end the campaigns (and political lives) of many candidates, but Mr Trump has survived. Indeed, one CNN poll released on 24 October put him on 45% — exactly the same figure he was on in the previous CNN poll released on 3 October. Both polls had Mrs Clinton leading on 51%.
Trump’s ability to continuously poll around 40% nationally while rarely going above 45% has led many analysts to describe his support as having a high floor but a low ceiling. Mr Trump got more primary votes than any Republican in history but the polls show he has struggled to attract voters from outside his large and loyal base.
Meanwhile, NBC has released its newest version of the battleground map.
As it stands, states likely to vote for Hillary Clinton and those leaning toward the Democratic nominee total 274 electoral votes — slightly surpassing the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House.
Six states look to be election toss-ups, according to NBC: Florida, North Carolina , Ohio , New Hampshire , Arizona and Utah . Importantly, even if Republican nominee Donald Trump wins every single toss-up contest, he’d still lose.
That map helps explain why Trump visited Michigan earlier this week: He needs to pick off one of the “lean Democrat” states in order to win the presidency.
She has a lot of money and the ability to raise a lot more. She is in a top leadership position in the Democrat Party and a reputation for squashing competitors. The press rarely gives her anything but softball questions and rarely challenges her. She is a female and uses that fact to get “it’s time for a woman president” votes irrespective of her other problems. And she can and will turn any criticisms of her or her policies into accusations of sexism on the part of her opponents.
In terms of personality, demeanor, and attitude she has been described by some critics as phony and unlikeable. That’s one reason why she does everything she can to stay away from any unscripted interactions with the press and public (the other is that someone might ask about her various scandals which she wants to not talk about). Interestingly, Saturday Night Live of all places is actually picking on her a bit about the unlikeability factor in some of their sketches.
She also lacks any significant political successes in all of her time in public life. She doesn’t have the excuse of being young, or new to the political scene, so it is a little hard for her to say believably that she would do anything new or interesting. She has a long trail of corrupt episodes in her history that she can’t explain convincingly (her clear violation of record-keeping rules violations, deleting her illegally managed emails, the illegal fundraising activities, Benghazi lies, and of course, all of the old Clinton administration scandals. She can of course continue to delay and evade, but that’s going to get really old over the next two years. Since she has been in the public eye for a long time people already have a pretty clear set of opinions about her for better or worse. This means that it is going to be hard for her to do a great deal to move her numbers herself. This is likely to work against her big money
Donald Trump Strengths
His major strength is his unpredictability and that is about where it ends. His non-conformity and language seems to reflect the feelings a lot of Americans.
He unfortunately does not have any definitive plans or policy doctrine, other than continuous bloviation. He refuses to accept responsibility and accountability for his actions or comments that have incited violence. This later part is worrisome when it comes to international relations, as it could create additional tension in an already tense world. He is a megalomaniac and narcissist. It seems, for him,this presidential run is not really about America, it is about him winning.