Democrats are getting anxious one week from Election Day, with the presidential race seeming to tighten in the wake of a shock FBI announcement.

An ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll sent waves through Democratic ranks on Tuesday morning, when it found GOP nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump signs bill averting shutdown after brief funding lapse Privacy, civil rights groups demand transparency from Amazon on election data breaches Facebook takes down Trump campaign ads tying refugees to coronavirus MORE leading Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump crowd chants 'lock her up' about Omar as president warns of refugees in Minnesota Democrats say Biden survived brutal debate — and that's enough Comey defends FBI Russia probe from GOP criticism MORE by a single percentage point among likely voters.


The poll also found that “strong enthusiasm” for Clinton had eroded by 7 points in recent days.

The FBI’s news has given a new spring to the step of Republicans, many of whom were resigned to a Trump defeat that might cost them the Senate majority just a week ago.

On the Democratic side, most supporters of Clinton think she will still prevail on Tuesday — but perhaps by a smaller margin than they once hoped.

An NBC News/Survey Monkey poll released Monday showed Clinton leading Trump by 6 points nationally. That result was a 1-point improvement for the Democrat over a poll by the same organizations released six days previously. Also Monday, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed Clinton leading by 5 points nationwide, only a slight downtick from her 6-point margin from the equivalent poll last Thursday.

Both polls suggest there has been very little movement since FBI Director James Comey’s bombshell that agents had found emails that “appear to be pertinent” to its earlier investigation into Clinton. The two polls included responses from people surveyed before and after the FBI news.

Democrats are taking heart from early-voting figures. Around 20 million people had already voted by the time the FBI story broke. That figure has now risen to more than 27 million, according to Michael McDonald, a University of Florida political science professor who is an expert in early voting.

The figures have been broadly positive for Democrats, but with significant caveats.

Voting by registered Democrats has outpaced that of Republicans in several states, and there are some reports that Latino turnout is especially strong. On the downside for Clinton, African-American turnout looks like it could be problematic, especially when compared to the high bar set by President Obama in 2008 and 2012.

Extrapolations from early voting returns are further complicated by some states adopting different processes than before and others setting up fewer polling locations. There is also the perennial question of whether either party is truly finding new voters in the early tallies or is simply getting people who would have voted for its nominee on Election Day to cast their ballots earlier.

In any event, the Comey news has boosted the spirits of Republicans, even those who hold no great fondness for Trump.

“At a minimum, it has put Hillary back on defense for the closing 10 days of the race, and that’s hugely significant,” said GOP strategist and Hill contributor Matt Mackowiak. “It has also brought back all these questions about Hillary’s trustworthiness and honesty. ... I didn’t think the race was competitive on Thursday, and now I do.”

Democrats, on the other hand, are seeking to keep anxiety at bay by focusing on the polls that show either no change in a race where Clinton held a sizable advantage or only a slight shift toward Trump.

They argue that the impact of an announcement such as Comey’s will be limited given the polarized nature of the nation, the well-known yet divisive candidates and the number of people who have long ago made up their minds on whom to back.

“I honestly think that the universe of persuadable voters is very small,” said Democratic pollster Mark Mellman, who is also a columnist for The Hill. “While there are some things that can even persuade people who are not ‘persuadable voters,’ I don’t think this is one of them. People have been exposed to information about emails for some time and there is hardly anyone who hasn’t already come to some view.”

At the same time, Mellman added, “Is [the email issue] a topic one would like to be talking about? Certainly not.”

Clinton remains the favorite to win the White House in most polling averages and predictive models, but there is little doubt that Trump has narrowed the gap. Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight website now gives the GOP nominee around a 30 percent chance of prevailing in its “polls-plus” projection, up from a recent low of 14.7 percent on Oct. 17.

In the RealClearPolitics national polling average, Clinton’s lead stood at 2.2 percent on Tuesday afternoon, down from more than 7 points on Oct. 18.

Those findings are among those that push some Democrats to assert that Clinton’s margin might be narrower than they once thought.

Democratic strategist Robert Shrum, who has worked at a senior level for several presidential nominees, said that there “may be some” impact from the Comey announcement.

“The momentum was all with her, and I think it could slow the momentum,” he said. But he added that the Clinton campaign was “very smart” to spend money on new TV ads and on bolstering its get-out-the-vote efforts. The Clinton campaign has long outpaced Trump on metrics such as the number of field offices in battleground states.

Shrum speculated that the main consequence could be a scenario in which Clinton wins the election but fails to carry some of the most competitive states, such as Ohio and Iowa.

But he also offered a note of caution.

“The days right before an election are like the re-entry of spacecraft,” he said. “We just don’t know what is going to happen.”