US Elections 2016: Final countdown

Trump adviser acknowledges: 'We are behind'

Two-year-old Hunter Tirpak, dubbed "Baby Trump" for his resemblance to the Republican presidential candidate, at a campaign rally on Oct 21 in Pennsylvania.
Two-year-old Hunter Tirpak, dubbed "Baby Trump" for his resemblance to the Republican presidential candidate, at a campaign rally on Oct 21 in Pennsylvania.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON/RALEIGH (North Carolina) • A top adviser to Mr Donald Trump has acknowledged that the Republican presidential candidate was lagging behind rival Hillary Clinton.

Mr Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said on Sunday Mrs Clinton had "tremendous advantages", including a large campaign war chest that had allowed her to spend millions on television ads ahead of the Nov 8 election.

"We are behind," Ms Conway said on NBC's Meet The Press programme. But she added that the Trump campaign was looking to sway undecided voters not ready to support Mrs Clinton.

As the polling gap has widened, Mr Trump has said repeatedly the election is being "rigged" against him. He has offered no evidence and numerous studies have shown that the US election system, which is decentralised and run by the states, is sound.

He has also refused to commit to honouring the election results.

The latest Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday had Mrs Clinton leading Mr Trump by 4 percentage points, and the most recent State of the Nation project showed Mrs Clinton with a 95 per cent chance of winning the 270 Electoral College votes needed to secure the presidency.

An ABC News poll released on Sunday had Mrs Clinton leading with 50 per cent of likely support, compared with Mr Trump's 38 per cent. The poll found that the number of Republicans who said they were likely to vote fell 7 percentage points from mid-October.

As Mr Trump battled to win over undecided voters, efforts by members of his inner circle to downplay his remarks about the integrity of the election indicated he would come under significant pressure to accept the election results if he were to lose.

Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus said that by asking Mr Trump to agree to concede, the media had made an extraordinary request. He said Mr Trump would fight only if the election were close and was not trying to dispute a fair election.

"That's not quite what he's saying. What he's saying is he wants to reserve all options and if there is ground for a recount, I'll reserve all options," Mr Priebus said on CBS' Face The Nation programme.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump's son Eric said on Sunday that his father would "100 per cent" accept the election results if the outcome was "fair".


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2016, with the headline 'Trump adviser acknowledges: 'We are behind''. Print Edition | Subscribe