By Maurice Tamman
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton maintained her commanding lead in the race to win the Electoral College and claim the U.S. presidency, according to the latest Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project results released on Saturday.
In the last week, there has been little movement. Clinton leads Donald Trump in most of the states that Trump would need should he have a chance to win the minimum 270 votes needed to win. According to the project, she has a better than 95 percent chance of winning, if the election was held this week. The mostly likely outcome would be 326 votes for Clinton to 212 for Trump.
Trump came off his best debate performance of the campaign Wednesday evening but the polling consensus still showed Clinton winning the third and final face-off on prime-time TV. Trump disputes those findings.
And some national polls had the race tightening a wee bit this week though others had Clinton maintaining her solid lead. But the project illustrates that the broader picture remains bleak for Trump with 17 days to go until the Nov. 8 election.
Trump did gain ground in South Carolina where his slim lead last week expanded to seven points, moving it into his column from a toss-up. Unfortunately for him, he lost ground in Arizona, which is now too close to call.
Additionally, he is facing a challenge for Utah’s six Electoral College votes from former CIA operative and Utah native Evan McMullin. The independent candidate is siphoning votes away from Trump in a state that is Republican as any in the nation. In some polls, McMullin is even leading. (The States of the Nation is not polling on McMullin.)
Utah, like almost all of the states, is a winner-take-all contest.
Clinton has also maintained a lead in Florida and Pennsylvania, which have a combined 49 Electoral College votes. Ohio remains too close to call.
According to the project, lower voter turnout generally benefits Trump but his best hope for success is if Republican turnout surges and Democratic turnout is low.
To examine these results and other scenarios, go to the States of the Nation project http://www.reuters.com/statesofthenation/ .
(Editing by Bernard Orr)
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