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Clinton’s narrow lead holds steady

Hillary Clinton holds a narrow lead over Donald Trump going into the final 48 hours, amid strong signs she has arrested the momentum Trump carried into the final week of the campaign.

Three national surveys released Sunday morning all show Clinton with a low- to mid-single-digit advantage over Trump, with Clinton either holding steady or reversing last week’s movement in the polls toward the GOP nominee.

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Trump continues to struggle to move past a ceiling that has impeded his progress for much of the campaign. At best, he is able to get only to the mid-40s in the polls, boxed in by a firm alignment of nonwhite voters and more-educated whites who have rejected his candidacy since he entered the race in the summer of 2015.

Still, significant numbers of voters are unwilling to get behind Clinton, and her own ceiling remains shy of a majority of the vote that would give her more security going into the final two days of campaigning.

The state polling data remains even more ambiguous. The most reliable poll in Iowa gives Trump a 7-point lead, and the Republican looks poised to return the state to the GOP column for the first time since 2004.

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Polls are deadlocked in the vote-rich states of Florida and Ohio. But, on the whole, there are far fewer state polls than at this point even four years ago.

Here’s where things stand as of Sunday morning:

National polls show Clinton consistently — though not overwhelmingly — ahead.

The three major national polls out Sunday morning include the final POLITICO/Morning Consult poll (conducted Friday and Saturday), which shows Clinton leading, 45 percent to 42 percent; the final NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll (conducted Thursday through Saturday), which shows Clinton ahead, 44 percent to 40 percent; and the latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll (conducted Tuesday through Friday), which has Clinton in front, 48 percent to 43 percent.

All three suggest a result closer than three weeks ago, when Clinton led handily. But they also indicate that the momentum that carried Trump back into contention nationally has stalled.

Clinton’s 3-point lead in the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll is unchanged from a week prior, when a separate survey gave the Democrat a 3-point advantage in the days immediately after FBI Director James Comey’s letter to Congress roiled the race.

The ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll even suggests Clinton is riding her own modest swell of momentum. Clinton led by just 2 points immediately prior to Comey’s letter to Congress, in which he stated the bureau had uncovered additional evidence potentially relevant in the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state.

Following that letter, Trump pulled even with Clinton — and even led by a single point in one four-night rolling average of the tracking poll. But after the post-Comey poll showed a dead-even race, the following four-night average now shows the race swinging back to Clinton, 48 percent to 43 percent.

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The third national poll is the respected, bipartisan NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, conducted by gold-standard firms in each party: the Democratic firm Hart Research Associates, and the GOP group Public Opinion Strategies.

That poll has Clinton ahead by 4 points — but with a larger share of undecided and third-party voters. Even among likely voters, Libertarian Gary Johnson is at 6 percent, Green Party nominee Jill Stein is at 2 percent, 1 percent said “none,” 2 percent indicated they would vote for another candidate or write in someone else, 1 percent said they would skip the presidential race and vote in other contests, and 4 percent said they weren’t sure for whom they would vote.

The large share of voters not lining up behind Clinton and Trump — underscored by the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll — suggests volatility unseen in previous presidential elections, despite a consistent Clinton advantage across multiple surveys.

The picture is muddled in the states.

The final weekend of the campaign used to mean a rush of polls in the battleground states, with newspapers and television stations putting out their final numbers.

But not this year. With rising polling costs and shrinking news budgets, the number of polls out this weekend is strikingly low.

The gold-standard poll in Iowa — the Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll conducted by the respected Iowa pollster J. Ann Selzer — gives Trump a 7-point lead, 46 percent to 39 percent. That would flip 6 electoral votes President Barack Obama won in 2012.

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The limited state polling is more equivocal in two larger battleground states: Ohio and Florida. Two less-conventional polls in Ohio show the candidates neck-and-neck: Clinton has a 1-point in the Columbus Dispatch’s mail survey, and Trump is a point ahead in a CBS News/YouGov online-panel poll.

Another CBS News/YouGov poll, in Florida, shows the two tied at 45 percent.

But as far as live-interview telephone polls surveying voters on both landlines and cellphones, neither state has seen a high-quality poll conducted entirely after Comey’s letter on Oct. 28. It’s unclear whether any are forthcoming later Sunday or Monday, though early voting in both states offers some clues as to the eventual outcome.

Meanwhile, while the race is closer in some states in which Clinton had been well ahead earlier in the campaign, her blue-state firewall is still holding up. A Muhlenberg College poll conducted for the Allentown Morning Call shows Clinton 6 points ahead in the race for Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes. And while Trump has suggested he is putting New Mexico’s five electoral votes in play, an Albuquerque Journal poll there shows Clinton still 5 points in front.

Source: POLITICO – TOP Stories

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