White House race tightens with several swing states now a toss-up

People lining up to vote at an early voting polling centre in Miami, Florida on Nov 3, 2016.
People lining up to vote at an early voting polling centre in Miami, Florida on Nov 3, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

CONCORD (North Carolina) • The race for the Oval Office tightened significantly in the past week, as several swing states that Republican Donald Trump must win shifted from favouring Democrat Hillary Clinton to toss-ups, according to the Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project.

The two candidates are now tied in Florida and North Carolina, and Mrs Clinton's lead in Michigan has narrowed so much the state is too close to call. Ohio remains in a dead heat and Pennsylvania is now tilting towards Mrs Clinton.

While she remains the odds-on favourite to win next Tuesday's election, Mr Trump now has a plausible route to victory, especially if there is a sharp fall in turnout among African-Americans from the levels of the 2012 election.

Still, Mr Trump must win both Florida and North Carolina to have a good chance of winning the White House. Mrs Clinton could lose both states and still win.

The States of the Nation project estimates Mrs Clinton's odds of winning the needed 270 Electoral College votes at about 90 per cent, down from 95 per cent last week.

 
 
 
 
 

By any measure, however, Mr Trump has had a good run in the past week. He has seen his support grow in 24 states while losing ground in 11.

Conversely, Mrs Clinton's support grew in 13 states while shrinking in 22.

The States of the Nation project is a survey of about 15,000 people every week in all 50 states plus Washington, DC.

It is unclear if the Federal Bureau of Investigation inquiry upset the balance in the race. But many national polls have found the race tightening in recent days.

Polling averages last week showed Mrs Clinton with a lead of between 4 and 7 percentage points. Those averages now show her lead at just 2 to 3 percentage points.

"I'm worried that Trump may win," said retiree Nancy Dubs, 83, in Pittsburgh, who said she was voting for Mrs Clinton. "I think it's maybe time to have a female president."

For Clinton supporters, it has been a quick shift from confidence to anxiety.

"I think all of us are a little bit nervous," said Dr Rajnandini Pillai, a professor at California State University at San Marcos, who plans to back Mrs Clinton.

With the White House race decided on the Electoral College system of tallying wins on a state-by-state basis, Mrs Clinton and Mr Trump are focused on a handful of battleground states.

Mr Trump began the day in Florida before heading to North Carolina for two rallies. Mrs Clinton was in North Carolina for two rallies.

Some new polls also showed Mr Trump closing in on Mrs Clinton's lead in New Hampshire.

As a result, she has been forced to pour more money into late advertising buys in Michigan, Virginia, Colorado and New Mexico. Still, her overall lead in state-level polls continues to bode well for her chances of winning the election.

REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2016, with the headline 'White House race tightens with several swing states now a toss-up'. Print Edition | Subscribe