Politics & Government

Steady ’til November? Clinton maintains polling lead over Trump

The State is taking a week-by-week look at the polling and Electoral College projections in the presidential race. Numbers will be updated each week until Election Day on Nov. 8.

A strange election year took another strange turn last week, as Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump spent a whole day accusing each other of harboring bigoted views.

Trump outright said of Clinton, “She’s a bigot,” while talking to CNN, blaming her for the problems of non-white, inner-city communities. The same day, Clinton accused Trump of drawing supporters from the “emerging racist ideology” of the “alt-right” with rhetoric critical of Mexicans, Muslims and other groups.

In an attempt to counter that image, Trump has sought to soften his stance on immigration and reach out to black voters, including a speech in majority-black Jackson, Miss., where Trump turned the stage over to the man who led the campaign to get Great Britain to leave the European Union.

For her part, Clinton spent the week disputing an Associated Press report on the number of Clinton Foundation donors she met with while at the State Department. Meanwhile, top Republicans called for Clinton to be investigated by a special prosecutor.

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Clinton still on top

Despite all that, Real Clear Politics shows Clinton with a 6-point lead over Trump in its national polling average. While an improvement on the 5.5 percentage-point lead that she registered a week ago, it is below her post-convention high of 7.9 percentage points reached on Aug. 9.

When third parties are included, Clinton’s lead shrinks to 4 percent. The Democrat has 42 percent support in the average, with Trump’s support at 38 percent. Libertarian Gary Johnson is at 9, and the Green Party’s Jill Stein is at 2 percent.

Real Clear’s electoral map remains unchanged, with 272 electoral votes for Clinton, 154 for Trump, and eight states undecided. Of those undecided states, Trump is expected to carry only Arizona and Missouri, plus one electoral vote from a Maine congressional district for a total of 176. Clinton would pick up Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio – for a total of 362 electoral votes.

Of course, under the site’s projections, Clinton could lose all of the undecided states and still pass the 270 mark needed to win an Electoral College majority.

But what will it mean in November?

Clinton has an 80.9 percent chance of winning in November, according to FiveThirtyEight’s forecast – a strong performance, but still trending down since the convention. Using the site’s “polls-plus” prediction – factoring in historical voting patterns on top of present polls – Clinton’s certainty drops to 73.3 percent. If the election were held today, FiveThirtyEight gives the Democrat an 80.7 percent chance of winning.

Larry Sabato’s “Crystal Ball” has changed its outlook to project a 348 electoral-vote win for Clinton, and, last week, projected a Democratic takeover of the U.S. Senate to boot. Sabato predicts Republicans will hold on to the House, but with a reduced majority.

▪ To check out McClatchy’s interactive national projection map and the latest polling, click here.