The Buzz

With 3 months to go, Clinton builds presidential lead

It’s been a rough two weeks for Donald Trump.

The Republican presidential candidate has become ensnared in a feud with an unlikely target – the Gold Star family of an American Muslim soldier who died fighting in Iraq.

If that weren’t enough, Trump also initially declined to endorse the re-election bids of fellow Republicans U.S. Sen. John McCain and House Speaker Paul Ryan, and drew heat for having a baby removed from a campaign event.

In the midst of it all, Trump suggested the race might be “rigged” against him.

The Democratic convention also gave Hillary Clinton a positive bounce heading into the fall campaign.

Still, experts have counted Trump out before, only to see him bounce back. So, with three months to go, Trump die-hards still can hold out hope.

Clinton by 7%

Since the convention, Democrat Clinton has held steady leads in national polls.

That lead was 7 percent as of Monday, according to a Real Clear Politics polling average, giving Clinton a 47.5 percent to 40.5 percent lead over Republican Trump.

Clinton was up only 1.1 percentage points roughly a week ago, on July 31.

Clinton held a lead of between five and 15 points in the 11 most recent polls included in Real Clear’s polling average.

The support for both Clinton and Trump drops slightly when Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein are added to the polls. However, the Democrat’s lead over Trump doesn’t dramatically change in a three-way or four-way race.

Clinton by 15%?

A McClatchy-Marist poll, which surveyed voters Monday through Wednesday, showed the largest swing in Clinton’s favor, with the Democrat polling at 48 points to 33 percent for Trump.

A month earlier, the Marist poll had Clinton up by a 42-39 advantage.

Black, young voters abandon Trump?

Among the key findings in the Marist poll?

▪ Trump has the support of only 2 percent of black voters.

▪ Among voters under 30, Trump polled fourth – behind Clinton, Johnson and Stein.

Minus toss-up states, Clinton leads 246-154

Real Clear’s electoral map gives Clinton 246 likely electoral votes to Trump’s 154, with 10 states listed as toss-ups. (Keep in mind that 270 electoral votes are needed to win the presidency.)

The math has shifted in Clinton’s favor just since last week, as Virginia – the home state of Clinton’s running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, and its 13 electoral votes – has moved from a toss-up to leaning toward Clinton.

Some states could be competitive this year that you would not suspect.

Real Clear’s polling average in Georgia, reliably a red state since Democrat Bill Clinton won the Peach State in 1992, has Hillary Clinton within 2.4 points of Trump. However, the trend is ominous for Trump: The last two polls have Clinton leading or tied in Georgia.

Clinton also has small leads – of less than a percentage point, according to Real Clear – in North Carolina, which last went Democratic in 2008. But Trump regained a similarly narrow lead in Arizona, where some polls had given Clinton ahead by a slim margin. Arizona last voted Democratic in 1996.

In South Carolina, the last head-to-head poll pitting Clinton against Trump was conducted in early November, giving Trump a 5-point advantage in the Palmetto State.

Clinton win by 346-192?

When toss-up states are assigned to the current poll leader, Clinton carries 27 states for 346 electoral votes and a win, according to Real Clear.

That represents a shift in Trump’s favor since last week, as Arizona moves from the blue column to the red. The Republican would take 192 electoral votes, also swinging Georgia, Missouri and one of Maine’s congressional districts among the toss-up contests into his column.

The Cook Political Report, which last updated its projections on May 25, also projects a Clinton electoral win, finding at least 304 electoral votes – enough to win election – that at least “lean” Democratic.

Cook says the only true swing states are Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Ohio.

83.4% chance of a Clinton win?

FiveThirtyEight’s election forecast gave Clinton an 83.4 percent chance of victory, as of Friday.

Projecting Arizona will flip back to Trump, the website projects Clinton’s winning electoral total at 347.

On July 31, Clinton only had a 51 percent chance of winning, FiveThirtyEight said.

Larry Sabato with the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics has the same number and lineup for his predictions – something that hasn’t changed since Sabato made his initial predictions in March.

Republicans can take some solace in the fact that Sabato still lists seven large states as only “leaning” Democratic; Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

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