US Elections 2016: Final countdown

Clinton swinging more states in her favour

A Clinton supporter at a rally in Cleveland, Ohio, last Friday. Mrs Clinton and Mr Trump are currently tied in the battleground state, according to polls. Mrs Clinton at a campaign event with her running mate Tim Kaine in Philadelphia on Saturday.
Mrs Clinton at a campaign event with her running mate Tim Kaine in Philadelphia on Saturday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
A Clinton supporter at a rally in Cleveland, Ohio, last Friday. Mrs Clinton and Mr Trump are currently tied in the battleground state, according to polls. Mrs Clinton at a campaign event with her running mate Tim Kaine in Philadelphia on Saturday.
A Clinton supporter at a rally in Cleveland, Ohio, last Friday. Mrs Clinton and Mr Trump are currently tied in the battleground state, according to polls. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Trump is also facing problems in some typically Republican states

If the United States presidential election were held today - about two weeks before the vote on Nov 8 - Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who has inched ahead in a number of battleground states over the past few weeks, would have done enough to beat her Republican opponent Donald Trump.

Earlier this month, The Straits Times identified six battleground states - Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania - to watch in this election, accounting for 93 electoral college votes.

Mrs Clinton now has four states - Florida, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania - of these six in her column, and Mr Trump has one - Iowa. Both candidates are tied in Ohio, according to polling data.

This puts Mrs Clinton at 323 electoral college votes, assuming she wins the other Democratic strongholds that President Barack Obama won in 2012.

A candidate needs 270 electoral college votes to win the election.

If Mr Trump were to pull off a comeback, he would need to win at least three more battleground states which currently favour Mrs Clinton - Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania - on top of the other states which voted for Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the 2012 election.

This would tip him over the edge with just 273 votes.

Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes, is considered a must-win state for Mr Trump, and while his campaign has ploughed millions into TV advertising there, the state remains solidly in the Democratic column.

If things do not change, the state, which has voted Democrat since 1992, could herald the end of Mr Trump's bid for the Oval Office.

A national polling average by website RealClearPolitics shows Mrs Clinton ahead with 44.7 per cent of the vote compared with Mr Trump's 39.4 per cent - about a 5 percentage point lead.

Before the first presidential debate on Sept 26, Mrs Clinton's lead was only about 3 percentage points.

The debate, in fact, marked the beginning of Mr Trump's troubles. A poor showing due to an obvious lack of preparation was followed by the release on Oct 7 of a hot mic tape in which Mr Trump can be heard making lewd comments about women, which then led to an exodus of party support for the real estate billionaire.

Since then, Mr Trump has been struggling to pull ahead in national polls as Mrs Clinton continues to gain momentum.

Already fighting an uphill battle in traditional battleground states, Mr Trump is facing some pushback in typically red states such as Arizona, Georgia and Utah.

Mrs Clinton is now leading Mr Trump in Arizona by 1.5 percentage points, and has a chance of stealing the state from Mr Trump, who had held a small but consistent lead there since early August.

Seeing an opening, the Clinton campaign whisked First Lady Michelle Obama - one of the campaign's top surrogates - there last Thursday for a campaign rally, during which a supporter in the crowd shouted that "Arizona's going blue".

"Arizona appears to be the most vulnerable for Trump," wrote political scientist Larry Sabato and his team from the Centre for Politics at the University of Vir- ginia.

"Trump may be stuck because he doesn't have the resources to match the firepower Clinton is directing to the state."

A new development is also emerging in Utah, where independent candidate Evan McMullin is giving the major party candidates a run for their money.

A national polling average by the RealClearPolitics website shows Mrs Clinton ahead with 44.7 per cent of the vote compared with Mr Trump's 39.4 per cent - about a 5 percentage point lead. 

Mr Trump still has a 5.5 percentage point lead over both Mr McMullin and Mrs Clinton, but if Mr McMullin - a Mormon in a state where about 60 per cent of the population is Mormon - manages to topple Mr Trump, this would spell complete disaster for the Republican nominee.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2016, with the headline 'Clinton swinging more states in her favour '. Print Edition | Subscribe