National polls indicate the presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is tightening rapidly. With less than two weeks to go, the race is looking like it will be decided by the current undecided on November 8th.
As usual in a presidential election, some new surveys show Democrat Hillary Clinton’s national polling edge narrowing and Republican Donald Trump performing more strongly in the swing state of Florida. The polling experts point to the daily reports of WikiLeaks indiscretions concerning the Clinton Foundation and Hillary’s State Department staff as well as the failure of Obamacare.
It is no surprise that the flamboyant Trump faces a steep uphill climb, and the Electoral College map is extremely challenging for him. But the movement in the poll numbers gives his campaign hope after perhaps the worst phase of his campaign.
A new Bloomberg poll in Florida gave Trump a 2-point edge on Wednesday. In the RealClearPolitics (RCP) polling average in the Sunshine State, Clinton’s edge has been eroded from 4 percentage points on Oct. 21 to 1.6 points now. This cannot be welcome news for a campaign that has become complacent about their lead and have now utilized the strategy of lying low and saying nothing controversial.
Is that a good idea, or with 12-days until the election is it opening up Trump’s highly public campaign? It is the very same strategy that cost Mitt Romney the election in 2012. Meanwhile, in the RCP national average, Clinton’s lead has softened from 7.1 points on Oct. 17 to 5.1 points now.
If the election was today, Clinton would win the White House comfortably, polls say. But the fluidity is causing even some Democrats to warn against complacency. One Democratic strategist said, “I think we have to wait and see where we are a week from now, but races aren’t over 13 days out. Races are over on Election Day.” That statement can be translated into deep worry in the Hillary camp.
Meanwhile, the Trump aides and the GOP are finding signs for optimism in some of the polling numbers. The Republican National Committee released a memo on Wednesday that argued it was cutting into the Democratic advantage in early voting in several important states.
There is no question that the WikiLeaks release of hacked emails from the private account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta have added to negative voter perceptions of the former secretary of State. Trump’s polling manager argues that Trump is a maverick seeking to upset a dysfunctional status quo. That seems to be resonating as Nov. 8 nears.
But Hillary’s biggest concern should be the controversy over Obamacare premiums. It emerged this week that premiums would rise by an average of 25 percent in states that are covered by the federally run program, creating a political headache for Clinton as well as for President Obama. That is the worst news the Hillary camp could get so close to the election.
There are indeed indicators of change for Trump beyond Florida and national surveys. For instance, Clinton’s lead in the RCP average in Pennsylvania has fallen from 8.7 points two weeks ago to 4.4 points now. A Monmouth University New Hampshire poll released Wednesday gave the former secretary of State a four-point edge, whereas its survey last month had shown her leading by 9 points.
One Democratic strategist said, “I think it’s pretty obvious there is some tightening, she still has an advantage in the battlegrounds. But people should gird themselves for a longer night than many expect right now.”
That may be the statement that makes the headlines November 9th; “Trump sneaks into the White House.” Just ask Tom Dewey who lost the election to Harry Truman in 1948 that no poll predicted or Jimmy Carter who was soundly defeated by Ronald Reagan when only one poll had Reagan winning Election Day.