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Reuters/Ipsos Poll: Clinton Enjoys Solid Lead In Early Voting

NEW YORK (Reuters) – With 11 days to go before the U.S. presidential election, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton leads Republican Donald Trump by 15 percentage points among early voters surveyed in the past two weeks, according to the Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project.

Though data is not available for all early voting states, Clinton enjoys an edge in swing states such as Ohio and Arizona and in Republican Party strongholds such as Georgia and Texas.

An estimated 19 million Americans have voted so far in the election, according to the University of Florida’s United States Election Project, accounting for as much as 20 percent of the electorate.

Overall, Clinton remained on track to win a majority of votes in the Electoral College, the Reuters/Ipsos survey showed.

Having so many ballots locked down before the Nov. 8 election is good news for the Clinton campaign. On Friday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that it is examining newly discovered emails belonging to Clinton’s close aide, Huma Abedin. Those emails were found on a computer belonging to Anthony Weiner, Abedin’s estranged husband, during an unrelated investigation into illicit messages he is alleged to have sent to a teenage girl. The Reuters/Ipsos survey was conducted before the news emerged Friday afternoon.

It remains unclear whether the FBI inquiry will upset the balance in the race. The bureau disclosed nothing about the Abedin emails, including whether any of the messages were sent by or to Clinton. Over the summer, the FBI said it was closing its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email system while secretary of state. Until Friday, her campaign seemed to have weathered the initial FBI email probe.

Clinton has held a lead averaging four to seven percentage points in polls in recent weeks as the Trump campaign wrestled with accusations by women of groping and other sexual advances. Trump has said none of the accusations are true. He also struggled in the recent presidential debates and faced questions about his taxes.

As of Thursday, Clinton’s odds of receiving the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the presidency remained at greater than 95 percent, according to State of the Nation polling results released Saturday. The project estimated she would win by 320 votes to 218, with 278 votes solidly for the Democrat.

Clinton’s lead among early voters is similar to the lead enjoyed by President Barack Obama over Republican Mitt Romney at this point of the 2012 race, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll taken at the time. Obama won the election by 332 electoral votes to Romney’s 206.

But even before the latest email news, it had been a difficult week for Clinton. News coverage of Trump’s accusers had diminished, while Clinton confronted the almost daily release by WikiLeaks of emails purportedly hacked from her campaign manager’s account. This week’s leaked messages raised questions about former President Bill Clinton’s finances.

And her lead in the States of the Nation project fell slightly from last week. Though the projected Electoral College votes hardly moved, the number of states solidly for Clinton slid from 25 to 20 this week. Trump didn’t see any additional states tilt solidly to him, but he did see some gains: The swing states of Pennsylvania, Colorado, Iowa and Nevada all moved from leaning to Clinton to being too close to call.

Still, Trump’s path to a victory is narrow, and any realistic chance rests on his winning Ohio, North Carolina and Florida. As of Thursday, Ohio remained a toss-up. Florida and North Carolina were still tilting toward Clinton, according to the States of the Nation results.

Early voting data for Florida and North Carolina was not yet available this week. In Ohio, Clinton led Trump by double digits among early voters. The project’s broader polling suggests the state is deadlocked between the two candidates.

In Arizona, Clinton also was solidly ahead among early voters. In the past month, Arizona has gradually moved from a solid Trump state to a marginal Clinton state, although it is still too close to call, according to the project results.

In Georgia, she enjoyed a similar lead among early voters. Overall, Georgia leans to Trump, but his lead narrowed to five percentage points this week, down from eights points last week and 13 points a month ago.

Even in Texas, where Trump enjoys a sizable lead, Clinton has a double-digit edge among early voters, according to project results.

The States of the Nation project is a survey of about 15,000 people every week in all 50 states plus Washington D.C. State by state results are available by visiting http://www.reuters.com/statesofthenation/

(Editing by James Dalgleish)

Photo: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) wave to the crowd during a campaign rally at Ernst Community Cultural Center in Annandale, Virginia, U.S., July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

New Reuters/Ipsos States Poll: Clinton 326, Trump 212 In Electoral College

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)

Reuters/Ipsos Poll: Half Of Republicans Would Reject Election Result If Clinton Wins

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Donald Trump has repeatedly called this year’s presidential election rigged and has coyly said “I will keep you in suspense” on whether he would accept a Hillary Clinton victory, but many Republicans are less circumspect, according to a new poll.

Only half of Republicans would accept Clinton, the Democratic nominee, as their president. And if she wins, nearly 70 percent said it would be because of illegal voting or vote rigging, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday.

Conversely, seven out of 10 Democrats said they would accept a Trump victory and less than 50 percent would attribute it to illegal voting or vote rigging, the poll showed.

The findings come after repeated statements by Trump that the media and the political establishment have rigged the election against him. He also has made a number of statements encouraging his supporters to fan out on Election Day to stop illegible voters from casting ballots.

The U.S. government has accused Russia of a campaign of cyber attacks against Democratic Party organizations and state election systems.

Clinton has said she will accept the results of the election no matter the outcome.

The poll showed there is broad concern across the political spectrum about voting issues such as ineligible voters casting ballots, voter suppression, and the actual vote count, but Republicans feel that concern more acutely.

For example, nearly eight out of 10 Republicans are concerned about the accuracy of the final vote count. And though generally they believe they will be able to cast their ballot, only six out of 10 are confident their vote will be counted accurately.

Among Democrats, about six out of 10 are concerned about the vote count. They, too, believe they wi1l be able to cast their ballot, but eight out of 10 are confident their vote will be counted accurately.

“Republicans are just more worried about everything than Democrats,” said Lonna Atkeson, a professor at the University of New Mexico and head of the Center for the Study of Voting, Elections, and Democracy.

FLEE THE COUNTRY?

Additionally, seven out of 10 Republicans are concerned about issues such as vote buying, faulty voting machines, or confusing ballot designs. Six out of 10 Democrats feel the same way.

Nearly eight out of 10 Republicans are concerned that ineligible voters, including non-citizens, will illegally cast ballots. Four out of 10 Democrats feel the same way.

Six out of 10 respondents, regardless of party, say they are concerned about issues such as voter intimidation and suppression.

Atkeson said the level of concern and mistrust in the system, especially among Republicans, is unprecedented.

“I’ve never seen an election like this. Not in my lifetime. Certainly not in modern history.” The difference, she said, is Trump. “It has to be the candidate effect.”

She worries that the lack of trust is dangerous. It is one thing to not trust government, but quite another to doubt the election process. “Then the entire premise of democracy comes into question,” she said.

About one in five Democrats said they would protest if their candidate loses. Slightly fewer Republicans said they would do the same. Fewer than one in 10 Democrats said they are prepared to take up arms in opposition compared to fewer than one in 20 Republicans.

Democrats are also are three times as likely to say they would leave the country.

There is one area where there is little disagreement: Most people do not expect the losing candidate to concede the race gracefully.

The poll surveyed 1,192 American adults online from Oct. 17 to 21. The results have a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points. The credibility interval for Democrats is 5.1 percentage points; for Republicans it is 5.5 points.

(Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Leslie Adler)

Photo: Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, U.S. October 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Reuters/Ipsos States Poll: Clinton Heavily Favored To Win Electoral College

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

Clinton’s White House Chances 95 Percent: Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation

By Maurice Tamman

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Even before Sunday night’s vicious presidential debate, Republican Donald Trump was losing ground in many of the states he needs to win to capture the presidency, according to the latest Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation Project analysis released on Monday.

The project estimates that if the election had been held at the end of last week, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton had at least a 95 percent chance of winning enough states to reach the minimum 270 Electoral College votes needed to become the next president, based on polling between Sept. 30 and Oct. 7.

Those odds had steadily grown from about 60 percent on Sept. 15 to almost 90 percent on Sept 30. In the last four weeks, her estimated margin of victory has grown from about 14 votes to 118, according to the project.

The polling did not capture reaction to Trump’s performance in Sunday’s debate or the release on Friday of his 11-year-old sexually aggressive comments about women.

The results, however, mirrored other estimates of her chances of winning the campaign.

Statistical analysis outfit FiveThirtyEight, for example, put Clinton’s chance of victory in the election at about 55 percent three weeks ago. Currently, they estimate the odds of a Clinton win at 82 percent. In the same period, the New York Times’ estimates of the odds of a Clinton victory have also increased, from about 70 percent to 84 percent.

Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada and Florida are now leaning toward the Democratic candidate, according to the Reuters/Ipsos project, an online survey of about 15,000 people every week. Iowa is in the too-close-to-call category after being considered a likely Trump state while Arizona has moved from too-close-to-call to the Republican candidate.

More broadly, the state-by-state results show how Trump’s support is sliding. In the last week, he has lost ground in at least 21 states, including in seven of the 18 states where he is leading, while improving his position in 19 states.

Meanwhile, Clinton lost ground in 12 states, including in three of the 23 states where she is leading, and improved her standing in 30 sates.

Based on these results, Trump’s best hope for a victory would require a precipitous drop in the number of Democratic voters going to the polls on Nov. 8 from expected levels, combined with a similarly large increase in Republican turnout.

Trump’s crude comments about groping women and aggressively pursuing a married woman, captured on an open microphone, have sent his campaign into turmoil. The recording, first reported by The Washington Post, was made in 2005, in advance of a cameo appearance on a soap opera.

Over the weekend, numerous Republican elected officials and candidates responded by calling for Trump to step aside.

Trump responded to his waning support among some Republicans by calling them hypocrites. During Sunday’s debate he apologized but said the comments were just “locker-room talk.”

He also attacked Bill Clinton’s treatment of women and said Hillary Clinton should be in jail for her use of a private email server while secretary of state. Trump said that, if elected, he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate her.

A nearly yearlong FBI investigation into the emails concluded earlier this year that no charges should be filed, although FBI Director James Comey said Clinton had been careless in her handling of sensitive material.

The sexually explicit comments controversy followed published reports suggesting the Republican Party leadership was having an internal debate about shifting resources away from the presidential race and into U.S. House and Senate races.

The Republicans currently control both branches of Congress. Many experts think control of the Senate could shift to the Democrats, although few are predicting the Republicans will lose control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Even before the weekend, the Trump campaign had struggled through two weeks of negative news coverage that began with the campaign’s first presidential debate on Sept. 26, which Reuters/Ipsos polling suggested Clinton had won.

Shortly after the first debate, the New York businessman also attacked – in tweets that began in the early hours of the morning – a former Miss Universe whom Clinton had referred to during the debate as an example of Trump degrading women.

Also during that period, a New York Times report detailed how Trump lost nearly $1 billion in 1995, a loss that could be used to avoid paying federal taxes for up to 18 years, depending on his annual income.

Clinton has had her share of woes as well, including the release of hacked emails last week of comments she appeared to have made to banks and big business. In the 2014 comments, she pushes for open trade and open borders, and takes a conciliatory approach to Wall Street, both positions she later backed away from.

IMAGE: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton listen to a question from a member of the audience during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016.  REUTERS/Saul Loeb