Polls tighten for Trump, Clinton

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Polls are tightening in the presidential race with less than two weeks to go before Election Day.

Some new surveys show Democrat Hillary Clinton’s national polling edge narrowing and Republican Donald Trump performing more strongly in the swing state of Florida. 

{mosads}Trump still faces a steep uphill climb, and the Electoral College map is extremely challenging for him. But the movement in the poll numbers gives his campaign hope after perhaps the worst phase of his campaign.

A new Bloomberg poll in Florida gave Trump a 2-point edge on Wednesday. In the RealClearPolitics (RCP) polling average in the Sunshine State, Clinton’s edge has been eroded from 4 percentage points on Oct. 21 to 1.6 points now.

In the RCP national average, Clinton’s lead has softened from 7.1 points on Oct. 17 to 5.1 points now.

If the polls froze in their current position, Clinton would win the White House comfortably. But the fluidity is causing even some Democrats to warn against complacency.

“I think we have to wait and see where we are a week from now,” said one Democratic strategist who asked for anonymity to speak candidly. “But races aren’t over 13 days out. Races are over on Election Day.”

While the Clinton campaign has generally projected confidence, a campaign aide said it is unsurprising to see the race tighten.
“In an electorate as polarized as this one, we have consistently said we expect this race to tighten and that’s why we are so focused on building a successful grassroots campaign to get out the vote,” the Clinton aide said.
The former secretary of State has a number of different plausible paths to the 270 Electoral College votes needed for victory, an advantage not enjoyed by Trump.

Clinton aides are also enthused about early voting statistics in a number of swing states including Florida, where early voting among Latino voters and absentee ballot requests from African-Americans are both up markedly from their 2012 levels.

Still, Trump aides and the GOP are finding signs for optimism in some of the polling numbers. 

The Republican National Committee released a memo on Wednesday that argued it was cutting into the Democratic advantage in early voting in several important states. 

And on the question of polls, a Trump senior policy adviser, Peter Navarro, interjected “More than a little!” when asked why he thought the figures were changing a little.

Navarro went on to say that he thinks the polls are generally inaccurate, favoring Clinton because of erroneous modeling of which voters will turn out on Election Day. 

Beyond that, he argued that a few factors were fueling some movement in the race. 

He contended that the WikiLeaks’s release of hacked emails from the private account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta have added to negative voter perceptions of the former secretary of State.  

He also argued that Trump’s core argument that he is a maverick seeking to upset a dysfunctional status quo was resonating as Nov. 8 nears.

“The message of a candidate of change draining the swap is growing louder and louder,” Navarro said, “and it is going to get to a crescendo by Election Day.”

One more thing adding to that crescendo, Navarro insisted, was the controversy over ObamaCare premiums. It emerged this week that premiums would rise by an average of 25 percent in states that are covered by the federally run program, creating a political headache for Clinton as well as for President Obama.

There are signs of movement for Trump beyond Florida and national surveys. Clinton’s lead in the RCP average in Pennsylvania has fallen from 8.7 points two weeks ago to 4.4 points now, for example. A Monmouth University New Hampshire poll released Wednesday gave the former secretary of State a four-point edge, whereas its survey last month had shown her leading by 9 points.

But neither of those findings alter the fact that Clinton is a firm favorite to win both states. Trump would need continued movement in his favor, or a significant polling error, to be truly competitive come Nov. 8.

“I think it’s pretty obvious there is some tightening,” the Democratic strategist said. “She still has an advantage in the battlegrounds. But people should gird themselves for a longer night than many expect right now.”

This story was updated at 4:52 p.m.

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