There are 46 days to go until the US presidential election and the race is still tighter than anyone imagined it would be. Donald Trump is just 1.7 points behind Hillary Clinton nationally and you have to ask yourself: are these polls likely to understate, or overstate Trump’s support? In the swing states, it’s pretty even. In Ohio, Trump is five points ahead of Clinton and enjoys healthy support amongst working class whites, who back him by 26 points over Clinton. As Romney found, this is an unreliable base in an America with such rapidly-changing demographics but Hillary isn’t enthusing the groups she had expected to woo. She is only three points in front of Trump amongst women voters (Obama was 11 points ahead in Ohio in 2012). Ohio has picked the winner in each of the last three elections.
And the other states? In Nevada, Trump beats Hillary by 45 per cent to 40 per cent. Interestingly, for those who assume Trump supporters are tribal, the Republican enjoys a healthy lead amongst independent voters, with those who don’t affiliate themselves with any particular party preferring Trump (41 per cent) to Clinton (24 per cent). It’s a similar story in Nevada. Whilst Obama won the state in both 2008 and 2012, voters seem to have switched allegiance over to the Republican candidate: preferring him to Clinton by a three per cent margin. Once again women voters in Nevada also don’t appear as excited about the prospect of a Hillary presidency than one might have thought – they opt for Clinton over Trump by a margin of just six per cent (compared to the 16 per cent lead enjoyed by Obama over Romney in 2012).
As Christopher Caldwell pointed out in his Spectator cover piece last week, Trump himself has recently been pitching for black support, starting in a church in Detroit in September. Yet whilst it’s unlikely he’ll manage to reduce that hefty margin by much, there’s much in this latest poll to salve Trump’s worries. The polls might be balanced but the bookmakers are not: as The Spectator’s live odds poll shows they give Hillary a 63 per cent chance and Trump a 37 per cent chance. That said, Trump’s chances have never been higher.