Since widely-circulated rumors of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s health problems were exacerbated following a near-fainting incident at a 9/11 ceremony in New York and later admission that the candidate had been previously diagnosed with pneumonia, Republican rival Donald Trump has been rising in swing-state polls.
Currently, Trump leads Clinton in the so-called battleground states of Ohio, North Carolina, Nevada and Iowa, and is virtually tied with the former Secretary in Florida — all states that Clinton had previously been winning, some as late as early September.
While the tightening of the race is somewhat of a concern for Democrats, Clinton’s campaign and key allies are still confident that their candidate’s path to 270 electoral votes is still well-intact, as the new polls only reflect a consolidation of support for Trump among registered Republicans and conservative independents.
“The phenomenon we are seeing right now primarily is just Donald Trump being normalized among Republican voters,” said Geoff Garin, a pollster for top Clinton super PAC Priorities USA. “(It) doesn’t get him beyond the 2012 map in any form or fashion.”
If Trump won all the states Mitt Romney won four years ago, plus Florida, Ohio, Nevada and Iowa, Clinton would still win the electoral vote, 273 to 265.
According to the Washington Post, the Clinton camp is not expecting their candidate to win either Ohio or Iowa, but are optimistic about their chances overall because of solid leads in Virginia and Colorado, as well as in other swing-states like New Hampshire and Wisconsin.
An anonymous Clinton campaign official said the only development that would shake their confidence would be if polls in Michigan and Pennsylvania became close, where the Democratic nominee currently leads by mid-single digits.
On the other hand, if Clinton wins North Carolina, which then-Senator Barack Obama won in 2008, Democratic insiders say the election will be all but over.
“If we win North Carolina, along with Virginia, where we are in very good shape, we choke off so many path to 270 that (Trump’s) threading a needle that has a smaller eye than any previous Republican candidate,” said Clinton’s chief campaign strategist, Joel Benenson.
Trump currently leads Clinton in the Tar Heel State by 1.8 points, 43.5 to 41.7 percent, according to the RealClear Politics average of the latest polls.
Despite the odds seemingly in favor of the Democrats, vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine isn’t taking anything for granted. The Virginia senator has campaigned three times in New Hampshire over the past five weeks — a state that is considered a borderline battleground, but one the Democrats should expect to win.
“This race is close,” Kaine said at a rally in Exeter, N.H., on Thursday, Sept. 15. “I would rather be us right now than them. I think we have a more straightforward path to win and they have a more complicated path. But [there is] nothing to take for granted because, let’s be honest, it’s been a season of surprises.”
[Washington Post] [Bloomberg] [Image courtesy moderncoalition.com]