Poll: Clin­ton open­ing up lead over Trump down the stretch

Baltimore Sun - - ELECTION 2016 - By Julie Pace and Emily Swan­son

NEW YORK — Hil­lary Clin­ton ap­pears on the cusp of a po­ten­tially com­mand­ing vic­tory over Don­ald Trump, fu­eled by solid Demo­cratic turnout in early vot­ing, mas­sive op­er­a­tional ad­van­tages and in­creas­ing en­thu­si­asm among her sup­port­ers.

A new Associated PressGfK poll re­leased Wed­nes­day finds the Demo­cratic nom­i­nee has grabbed sig­nif­i­cant ad­van­tages over her Repub­li­can ri­val with just 12 days Elec­tion Day.

Among them: con­sol­i­dat­ing the sup­port of her party and even win­ning some Repub­li­cans.

“I’m go­ing to pick Hil­lary at the top and pick Repub­li­can straight down the line,” said Wil­liam Gold­stein, 71, of Long Is­land, N.Y., who voted for Mitt Rom­ney in 2012. “I can’t vote for Trump.”

Over­all, the poll shows Clin­ton lead­ing Trump na­tion­ally by 14 per­cent­age points among likely vot­ers, 51-37. While that is one of her largest mar­gins among left be­fore re­cent na­tional sur­veys, most show the for­mer sec­re­tary of state with a sub­stan­tial na­tional lead over the bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man.

The AP-GfK poll finds that Clin­ton has se­cured the sup­port of 90 per­cent of likely Demo­cratic vot­ers, and also has the back­ing of 15 per­cent of more mod­er­ate Repub­li­cans. Just 79 per­cent of all Repub­li­cans sur­veyed say they are vot­ing for their party’s nom­i­nee.

With vot­ing un­der­way in 37 states, Trump’s op­por­tu­ni­ties to over­take Clin­ton are evap­o­rat­ing — and vot­ers ap­pear to know it.

The AP-GfK poll found that 74 per­cent of likely vot­ers be­lieve Clin­ton will win, up from 63 per­cent in Septem­ber.

Trou­bles with Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s health care law have given Trump a late open­ing to warn vot­ers against putting an­other Demo­crat in the White House. But even Repub­li­cans ques­tion whether the ris­ing cost of in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums is enough to over­come the dam­age the busi­ness­man has done to his stand­ing with women and mi­nori­ties.

“Don­ald Trump has spent his en­tire cam­paign run­ning against the groups he needs to ex­pand his coali­tion,” said Whit Ayres, a Repub­li­can poll­ster who ad­vised Florida Sen. Marco Ru­bio’s failed pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. Ayres called Trump’s cam­paign “strate­gi­cally mind­less.”

Even if Clin­ton’s sup­port plum­mets in the con­test’s clos­ing days, or she’s un­able to mo­ti­vate strong turnout in her fa­vor, it’s not clear that Trump could mar­shal the re­sources to take ad­van­tage and col­lect enough states to win the 270 elec­toral votes needed to claim the White House.

The strength of the Demo­cratic turnout ef­fort ap­pears to be pay­ing div­i­dends in states where vot­ing is un­der­way. Na­tion­wide, more than 12 mil­lion vot­ers have al­ready cast bal­lots, ac­cord­ing to data com­piled by the AP, a pace far quicker than 2012.

Trump’s ad­vis­ers point to his large ral­lies and en­thu­si­as­tic sup­port­ers as an in­di­ca­tion he could be poised for an up­set.

The AP-GfK Poll of 1,546 adults has a mar­gin of sam­pling er­ror of plus or mi­nus about 3.0 per­cent­age points.

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