US Politics: Hillary Clinton regains clear lead over Trump

Hillary Clinton is back on the driver’s seat five days to the US election.

Hillary Clinton is back on the driver’s seat five days to the US election.

The latest Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll released on Wednesday, showed the Democratic candidate holding the same 6 percentage point advantage over Republican Donald Trump  among likely voters.

She held the same margin  before an FBI announcement that reignited the controversy about her email practices.

The Oct. 28-Nov. 1 opinion poll was conducted almost entirely after FBI Director James Comey notified Congress last Friday his agency would examine newly discovered emails that might pertain to Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

Comey said he did not know whether the emails were significant and released no information other than that they existed. His announcement drew outrage from Democrats who voiced concern it would unfairly influence voters so close to next week’s election. Trump and other Republicans seized on the news to revive questions about Clinton’s credibility.

Among 1,772 people who have either voted already or were identified as likely voters in the Nov. 8 election, 45 percent said they supported Clinton, while 39 percent said they backed Trump. On Thursday, the day before Comey’s announcement, Clinton led Trump by 43 percent to 37 percent. In a four-way poll that included alternative party candidates, Clinton led Trump by 8 percentage points among likely voters.

Forty-five percent supported Clinton, while 37 percent backed Trump. Five percent supported Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and 2 percent backed Jill Stein of the Green Party. Other national polls have shown Clinton’s lead shrinking over the past week.

RealClearPolitics, which averages most major opinion polls, showed Clinton’s lead had narrowed to 1.7 points on Wednesday from 4.6 points last Friday. The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English in all 50 states.

It had a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 3 percentage points. Clinton’s position is stronger than national polls imply given that the race is decided by the Electoral College system of tallying wins from the states. Some 270 electoral votes are needed to win and Democrats have a built-in advantage, with large states such as California and New York traditionally voting Democratic.

Clinton looked likely to win at least 226 electoral votes, leaving her needing 44 votes to pick up from the 132 votes at stake in “toss-up” states such as Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Iowa, Arizona, Colorado and Nevada, according to estimates by RealClearPolitics on Wednesday afternoon. Trump, on the other hand, has a steeper path to climb, looking likely to win 180 electoral votes and so needing 90 of the 132 votes from the current battleground states, the website showed.

Both candidates are focusing their final campaign efforts on those crucial states. Clinton has been spending a lot of time in Florida, which yields a rich haul of 29 electoral votes.

In a tight race there, the RealClearPolitics average of polls from Florida put Trump one point ahead of Clinton on Wednesday.

“No state is more important, and it’s close,” a Clinton aide told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s a state that Trump has to win … we don’t believe he has any path without Florida.”
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