Trump stalls in wake of debate
WASHINGTON • Mrs Hillary Clinton has been rewarded with a sizeable poll rise on the heels of her commanding presidential debate performance, surveys showed last Saturday, while Mr Donald Trump remained bogged down by his row with a former beauty queen.
Mr Trump had erased an advantage in polls enjoyed by his Democratic rival, but the latest average from RealClear Politics now shows Mrs Clinton ahead by 3 percentage points, 43.8 per cent to his 40.9 per cent. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson nabbed 7.3 per cent.
Those nationwide poll results come as Mrs Clinton's numbers also improve in a number of critical swing states - including the coveted battlegrounds of Florida, Nevada and New Hampshire - following last Monday's heated debate watched by some 84 million people. Early voting is getting under way in a number of states, including Iowa and Florida, in the lead-up to the second debate next Sunday.
A Clinton victory in the Nov 8 election, however, is by no means in the bag. Pollsters are still awaiting a verdict from undecided voters in Ohio, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, where Mr Trump was slated to hold a rally late Saturday.
Democrats are recruiting reinforcements - especially in Florida, a key battleground state of more than 20 million residents. The deadline for voters to register in the Sunshine State is less than two weeks away.
3 Percentage point lead held by Mrs Clinton over Mr Trump in the latest polls
Both President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden, who won the south-eastern state in 2008 and 2012, will head there to try to sway voters next week.
Mr Trump, in the days following last Monday's debate, has taken heat over his past abusive comments about Venezuelan beauty queen Alicia Machado's weight gain after she won her Miss Universe crown in 1996.
Campaigning in Florida last Friday, Mrs Clinton described Mr Trump as "unhinged" after the Republican presidential candidate fired off a pre-dawn tweet tirade against Ms Machado.
In one tweet, Mr Trump urged voters to check out a supposed "sex tape" of Ms Machado, giving the White House race a surreal new twist. The real estate mogul also caught flak after a soft-core Playboy porn film was unearthed in which he makes a cameo appearance.
In the Playboy video, Mr Trump is seen opening the door of a limousine as various leggy models emerge. He then pops a bottle of champagne, a splash of fizzy liquid landing on the famous Playboy bunny logo.
Clinton's funding haul nears $1.3b
WASHINGTON • Mrs Hillary Clinton raised US$154 million for her campaign and the Democratic Party last month, her biggest monthly fund-raising haul yet in her bid for the White House, pushing her total for the election cycle towards US$1 billion (S$1.36 billion).
In September, she raised about US$84 million for her campaign committee, up from US$62 million in August. About US$70 million was raised by the Hillary Victory Fund, which divides money among the campaign, the Democratic National Committee and various state parties, according to a statement on Saturday from her campaign.
The committees ended September with a combined US$150 million of cash on hand for the final push to election day on Nov 8. More than 900,000 people donated to "Hillary for America" last month, the campaign said. The average donation in September was about US$56.
"With Donald Trump promising to dump an additional US$50 million of his own money into the campaign and right-wing billionaires pledging millions more, we must continue to step up in order to have the resources we need to mobilise millions of voters across the country," campaign manager Robby Mook said in the statement.
While Mrs Clinton, 68, began September with a health issue, revealing she had been diagnosed with pneumonia, she ended the month with a strong performance in the first debate against Mr Trump, the Republican nominee. The two square off again on Sunday.
Mr Trump, who has not announced how much he raised in September, pulled in about US$90 million for his campaign and the Republican Party in August.
Mrs Clinton, who has spent heavily on advertising and get-out-the- vote operations, has raised more than US$989 million through her campaign and joint fund-raising committee since the election cycle beganearly last year. That's well ahead of Mr Trump, who largely financed his primary campaign out of his own pocket. As of August, his total investment was almost US$60 million, according to the campaign.
In 2012, President Barack Obama, running for re-election, and Republican nominee Mitt Romney each raised more than US$1 billion, making it the most expensive presidential race on record. Mrs Clinton's results were well above the combined US$110 million that Mr Obama brought in for his campaign and joint fund-raising committee in September 2012.