Sunday 17 December 2017

Trump's blunders prove costly as Clinton races ahead in polls

Hillary Clinton leaves the annual Conference of Mayors in Indianapolis. Photo: Chris Bergin
Hillary Clinton leaves the annual Conference of Mayors in Indianapolis. Photo: Chris Bergin

Rachel Alexander

Two separate opinion polls record a resurgent Hillary Clinton racing ahead in the US presidential race after a tumultuous month for Donald Trump, who has failed to rally confidence among voters or party leaders.

A 'Washington Post'-ABC News poll showed a 12-point lead for the Democrat, her largest advantage since the autumn and a dramatic improvement over last month, when the poll showed her almost tied with Trump. If the presidential election were held today, 51pc of respondents said they would vote for Clinton, versus 39pc for Trump.

But, a 'Wall Street Journal'/NBC News poll showed a slimmer lead for Mrs Clinton, 46pc to Mr Trump's 41pc.

They were almost tied, 39pc for Clinton and 38pc for the Republican opponent, when third-party candidates were included, this poll showed.

The surveys come after a difficult month for the combative Mr Trump, a political novice who fired his campaign manager and faced criticism for poor campaign organisation and a paltry war chest of $1.3m at the end of May. Mrs Clinton, who has repeatedly pounded Trump as being "temperamentally unfit," finished the month with $42m.

Mr Trump faced a widespread outcry after he accused a federal judge of bias because of his Mexican heritage. The judge is presiding over cases involving his defunct online university.

And in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, the brash businessman tweeted his thanks to people who congratulated him for "being right on radical Islamic terrorism".

He renewed calls for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US and then doubled down, suggesting profiling of Muslims was not off the table.

At the weekend, Mr Trump seemed to change course, saying immigration from "regions linked with terrorism" should be suspended.

"I think there's no question that he's made a number of mistakes over the last few weeks," Republican Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, told ABC News.

"I think they're beginning to right the ship. It's a long time until November. And the burden, obviously, will be on him to convince people that he can handle this job."

According to the 'Washington Post'-ABC News poll, two in three Americans say Mr Trump is unqualified to lead the nation, are anxious about the idea of a Trump presidency and find his comments about women, minorities and Muslims show an "unfair bias".

Yesterday, Mrs Clinton was campaigning for the first time with populist US Senator Elizabeth Warren in Ohio in an attempt to further dilute Mr Trump's appeal.

Ms Warren is a relentless critic of Wall Street and one of Ms Clinton's potential vice presidential picks. Ohio has backed every successful presidential nominee since 1964 and no Republican has won the White House without carrying Ohio.

Clinton's decision to campaign with Warren for the first time in Cincinnati is a bid to stop Trump from gaining ground in the state by focusing on how Clinton would help improve the US economy.

Though Warren is an influential progressive within the Democratic Party, strategists said her rhetoric about breaking up too-big-to-fail banks and reining in corporate excess resonates with two groups Clinton must court to win the November 8 election.

Irish Independent

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