Presidential Race Update: Down the Home Stretch as a Bombshell explodes.
Hillary still leads in the national polls, although that lead has shrunk almost daily over the past week. The RCP Poll of polls shows a 30 percent drop in Hillary’s lead, down to just a little over 4 percent. The magnitude of the drop can be seen by comparing the last three ABC News Tracking polls. In polls covering the period 10-20 to 10-22, Hillary’s lead over Donald Trump was 12 percentage points. In their polling covering 10-21- to 10-24 her lead had declined to 9 points. In their 10-23 to 10-26 poll, Hillary’s lead was down to just 4 points. This kind of drop should be alarming to the Clinton camp coming so late in the race for President. Other polls also show a downwards trend for Hillary.
My sounding board daughter now focuses on Hillary’s electoral lead, which is still significant. However, key battleground states still show leads for Clinton so small that her electoral advantage (ranging from the 70 votes above the 270 needed for victory, to 18 shy of that amount, depending on which poll one uses), likely is in jeopardy if the trend over the past week continues. The final 10 days of a campaign are notorious for their volatility.
Hillary’s lead was greatest following the Bobby Bush tapes wherein Trump said that as a celebrity he could grab even a married woman’s genitals, which was then followed by a parade of women who came out in the public accusing Donald of unwanted assault on their bodies. That was two weeks ago, and now the Wiki Leaks torrent of embarrassing hacked emails, possibly directed by Russia, are center stage. Also in play is the tendency for dissatisfied partisans to hold their noses and vote for their party. This is easier to do when the important fact of the control of the Supreme Court hangs in the balance.
We await state polls which are a scarcer commodity on a timely basis, generally trending behind national polls.
The next week could show either more of a Trump momentum-which would make the race well too close for comfort, or if Hillary regains her earlier post-tapes rise in the polls, she could score a significant victory, especially if Trump continues to wander off point in his messages, and if Hillary’s final drive campaign appearances with Michelle Obama prove to be as effective as I think they will.
I still see Hillary with a modest lead in the popular vote, and a somewhat larger lead in the electoral college. But those leads are nowhere near as secure-seeming as they were just a week ago. And if the rapid erosion in Hillary’s support, that we have seen this past week, continues all bets are off. Some external event, such as the expected terrorist actions on Western target by a besieged ISIS, under attack in both Mosul and Raqqa, the centers of their Caliphate in Iraq and Syria, still could turn our election forecasts upside down.
We are down to the home stretch in this divisive election, and the finish could be as bizarre as the race itself has been.
Flash–Noon Friday: Could this be the back breaker? In an amazing coincidence, if it was that, FBI Director Comey, just 11 days before the election sent a letter to Republican committee chairmen in Congress, to the effect that new emails, not coming from Hillary or WikiLeaks, have come to his attention that should be examined as part of the ongoing look at Hillary’s possible use of her server to send or receive classified documents. Even though Director Comey, said that the FBI “cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant,” he had no compunction about offering hints that must be like manna from heaven for the Trump campaign, as they relished the innuendos possible from Comey’s announcement. A pallor surely is hanging over the Clinton campaign as they consider the implications of Comey’s announcement. Conveniently, Comey added that the FBI would be unable to finish their examination of the new emails (reportedly from the Anthony Weiner-Huma Abedin break-up) by election day. The timing of this is unconscionable. Trump, to no one’s surprise, immediately distorted the event into the FBI reopening the Hillary email case, which he further described as “her criminal and illegal conduct, threatening the security of the United States of America.” Trump, speaking at a rally today added, “we must not let her take her criminal scheme into the oval office.” Later he praised Comey for “willing to right the horrible mistake that they made.” Comey, himself a Republican, must have known how this would play into the Trump dialog. In any event, it likely will have an effect, for now at least, on the few independents and undecideds who have not made their choices. Unfortunately, those few could spell the difference between victory and defeat. This soap-opera of an election is not likely over yet. More bombshells won’t be at all surprising. As in those soaps, we can only say: To be continued….