By Maurice Tamman
NEW YORK (Reuters) – After a brutal week for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, Democrat Hillary Clinton maintained a substantial projected advantage in the race to win the Electoral College and claim the U.S. presidency, according to the latest results from the Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project released on Saturday.
If the election were held this week, the project estimates that Clinton’s odds of securing the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the presidency at more than 95 percent, and by a margin of 118 Electoral College votes. It is the second week in a row that the project has estimated her odds so high.
The results mirror other Electoral College projections, some of which estimate Clinton’s chance of winning at around 90 percent.
For the Trump campaign there are a handful of states the Republican candidate must win if he is to cobble together enough states to win the White House.
Among them is Florida, but numerous recent visits to the Sunshine State by Trump and his vice-presidential running mate Mike Pence did little to dent Clinton’s advantage in the contest for the state’s 29 Electoral College votes. She leads by 6 percentage points, about the same lead she enjoyed last week.
Still, the race tightened in Ohio, another important state for Trump. Both Ohio and Nevada were leaning toward Clinton last week but are now toss-ups.
However, Clinton’s support grew in North Carolina and Colorado, both of which moved from toss-ups to leaning Clinton.
In the last week, the Trump campaign struggled to respond to allegations from several women that Trump had groped them or made unwanted sexual advances over several decades. Trump said the reports were lies and part of a media conspiracy to defeat him.
All of the allegations came after The Washington Post disclosed a video from 2005 of Trump describing how he tried to seduce a married woman and bragging in vulgar terms how his celebrity allowed him to kiss and grope women without permission.
The accusations overshadowed what might otherwise have been a difficult week for Clinton. Her campaign manager’s email account was apparently hacked and thousands of his emails were released by Wikileaks. U.S. officials say the Russian government sanctioned the electronic break-in.
The emails have been trickling out for two weeks. Included in the hacked emails were undisputed comments that Clinton made to banks and big business in a 2014 speech. In those comments, Clinton said she supports open trade and open borders, and takes a conciliatory approach to Wall Street, both positions she later backed away from.
Since that release, waves of other emails have been released, among which were some that suggested Clinton had inappropriately received questions in advance of a debate with Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primaries.
Without Trump’s own woes, the Clinton emails may well have become the central issue in the campaign. Yet with just over three weeks to go until the Nov. 8 election, Trump does not have much time to turn the race around.
According to the project, Trump trails by double-digits among women and all minority groups. Among black voters he trails by nearly 70 points. To a large extent his support is almost entirely dependent on white voters. And while Trump’s support among white men is strong, among white women his lead is negligible.
(Reporting by Maurice Tamman; Editing by Reg Chua and Leslie Adler)
IMAGE: Supporters wave as Hillary Clinton arrives at a campaign office in Seattle, Washington, U.S. October 14, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson