Democrats face growing concerns as White House race tightens days before voting

Concord/Winterville, Nov 4

Hillary Clinton’s supporters nervously eyed opinion polls showing the Democrat with a tenuous lead over Republican rival Donald Trump yesterday as the White House candidates raced through vital battleground states in a late search for votes.

The race for the Oval Office has tightened significantly in the past week, as several swing states that Trump must win shifted from favouring Clinton to toss-ups, according to the Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project.

The project, a survey of about 15,000 people every week in all 50 states plus Washington, DC, found the two candidates were now tied in Florida and North Carolina and that Clinton’s lead in Michigan had narrowed so much the state was too close to call. Ohio remained a dead heat, with Pennsylvania now tilting to Clinton.

A Reuters/Ipsos national daily tracking poll found on Wednesday that Clinton was leading Trump by six percentage points, the same advantage she held before FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congress last week saying the agency had found a new cache of emails potentially related to its probe of Clinton emails.

Other polls have shown a far closer race, fuelling Democratic worries about the state of the race just five days before Tuesday’s election. Clinton’s national lead over Trump eroded to three percentage points among likely voters in a New York Times/CBS News poll yesterday, down from nine points just two weeks ago.

An average of polls compiled by the RealClearPolitics website also showed her lead at 1.7 percentage points yesterday, well down from the solid advantage she had until late last month.

“I’m worried that Trump may win,” said Nancy Dubs, 83, a retiree in Pittsburgh, who said she was voting for Clinton. “I think it’s maybe time to have a female president.”

For Clinton supporters, it has been a quick shift from confidence to anxiety.

“I think all of us are a little bit nervous,” said Rajnandini Pillai, a professor at California State University at San Marcos, who plans to back Clinton. “It seemed pretty much in the bag a couple weeks ago.”

Nevertheless, some polls showed Clinton recovering slightly from her slide in the past week. She has maintained her comfortable edge in the Reuters/Ipsos poll and inched back into a two-point lead over Trump in the latest Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll, which had shown Clinton falling slightly behind Trump earlier this week.

President Barack Obama, on the third day of a multi-state campaign trek for Clinton, adopted a sense of urgency before a raucous crowd at Florida International University.

“You have the chance to shape history,” Obama said. “There are times where history is ... moveable. Where you can make things better or worse. This is one of those moments.”