US Elections 2016

Clinton still ahead of Trump in surveys

This file photo combination shows Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton(Left) on April 4, 2016 and Republican challenger Donald Trump on February 16, 2016.
This file photo combination shows Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton(Left) on April 4, 2016 and Republican challenger Donald Trump on February 16, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK • While it is still a long way until Election Day, the Republican Party's likely presidential candidate Donald Trump trails the Democrat's probable choice Hillary Clinton by about 10 percentage points in early surveys, both nationally and in key battleground states. He even trails in polls of states where Mr Mitt Romney won in 2012, like North Carolina, Arizona, Missouri and Utah.

So could Mr Trump overtake Mrs Clinton? Anything is possible after such an improbable primary campaign season.

There have been 10-point shifts over the general election season before, even if these are uncommon. But there is not much of a precedent for huge swings in races with candidates as well known as Mr Trump and Mrs Clinton.

Mr Trump's biggest problem is that he would be the most unpopular major party nominee in the modern era. Nearly two-thirds say they have an unfavourable opinion of him. Over half view him "very unfavourably" or are "scared" of his candidacy - figures with no precedent among modern presidential nominees.

His ratings are worst with the voters who made up the so-called Obama coalition - young, non-white and well-educated voters who propelled US President Barack Obama's re-election four years ago.

In some ways, Mrs Clinton is not a natural fit to reunite Mr Obama's supporters - especially younger ones who prefer Senator Bernie Sanders. But any of her challenges among these groups dissipate against Mr Trump. Polls show her leading among 18- to 29-year-old voters by a larger margin than Mr Obama's four years ago.

Some anti-Trump Republicans are even considering whether they would be prepared to fight him in the general election, even if it means helping to elect Mrs Clinton.

Ms Katie Packer Gage, who leads the anti-Trump Our Principles PAC, said in a statement: "We continue to give voice to the belief of so many Republicans that Trump is not a conservative, does not represent the values of the Republican Party, cannot beat Hillary Clinton and is simply unfit to be president of the US."

NEW YORK TIMES, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2016, with the headline 'Clinton still ahead of Trump in surveys'. Print Edition | Subscribe