quinta-feira, 15 de setembro de 2016

Ohio center stage as Trump takes five-point lead in key state

Ohio center stage as Trump takes five-point lead in key state

Bloomberg survey, conducted during a stretch of bad headlines for Hillary Clinton, follows trend of tightening polls across the country

Dan Roberts in Washington
Wednesday 14 September 2016 19.13 BST

It was the battleground state that swung it for George W Bush in 2004 and, once again, Ohio looks to be taking center stage in a tightening presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

As both campaigns wait to assess the impact of a bumpy weekend for Democrats, a shock new poll from the Buckeye state released on Wednesday places Trump five percentage points ahead, helping him lead in a rolling average there for the first time.

The Bloomberg survey was conducted between Friday and Monday, a period in which the Clinton campaign admitted mishandling news of her pneumonia diagnosis and the candidate made controversial comments, labeling half of Trump’s supporters “a basket of deplorables”.

Trump was due to appear at a rally in Canton, Ohio, on Wednesday evening, while Clinton remained at her home in New York on doctor’s advice to rest before her scheduled return to the campaign trail in North Carolina on Thursday.

Trump’s own disclosure record remained confused ahead of an expected television discussion on the Dr Oz Show of his recent physical examination.

And his alleged unfitness for office was underlined by leaked emails from former Republican defense secretary Colin Powell, who called his party’s nominee “a national disgrace” and an “international pariah”.

Ohio is a must-win state for Trump, but not for Clinton, and the latest poll may well just prove to be an outlier – only a week earlier another poll had Clinton ahead in Ohio by seven points. Yet it also coincided with signs of a more competitive race nationally, and in other key battleground states.

A new national poll, conducted by Ipsos for Reuters, showed a dead heat between Clinton and Trump, down from a two-point lead for the Democrat in its past few surveys. Likely voters asked to choose between the two frontrunners or Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Jill Stein placed Trump and Clinton neck-and-neck at 39% each. His national lead was four points among independents.
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Another daily tracking poll for the LA Times, which samples the same group of voters on a regular basis, even placed Trump five points ahead in a two-way national survey on Wednesday, although its methodology has been called into question by some for showing a bias toward Republican voters.

Nonetheless, few pundits now disagree that there has been significant tightening in the national race over the past couple of weeks. The closely watched rolling average of national polls has shown Clinton’s lead over Trump falling from eight points to two points in the last month, after a summer bounce from party convention season began to erode.

“Trump has a one in three chance of winning the election. It’s highly competitive, folks,” wrote respected polling expert Nate Silver on Wedneday, citing his website’s modeling analysis.

Rival analyst Nate Cohn wrote in the New York Times on Wednesday that Clinton was getting less of a boost than expected from Trump’s deep unpopularity among African American and Latino voters.

Even Democrats acknowledge the campaign is at a potentially critical point this week, though they remain confident that Trump’s unpopularity is putting once strongly Republican states into play as well as traditional battlegrounds.

“Arizona, Nevada and New Hampshire are complete toss-ups,” wrote the Democratic National Committee in a fundraising email to supporters on Wednesday. “If we get out the vote in these states we can elect Hillary.”

Yet turnout and enthusiasm seems to be part of the problem for Democrats.

“Our party breakdown differs from other polls, but resembles what happened in Ohio in 2004,” said Ann Selzer, the respected Iowa pollster who conducted the much-discussed new poll for Bloomberg.

“It is very difficult to say today who will and who will not show up to vote on election day. Our poll suggests more Republicans than Democrats would do that in an Ohio election held today, as they did in 2004 when George W Bush carried the state by a narrow margin. In 2012, more Democrats showed up.”

Earlier this week, Clinton’s lead also appeared to halve in Pennsylvania, another important test of Trump’s appeal to blue-collar voters.

And a new survey on Tuesday even showed an unexpectedly competitive race in Maine. Unusually it splits its four electoral college votes, and Trump is ahead in the second congressional district, the mostly northerly tip of the country, farthest away from his proposed wall with Mexico.

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