With a little more than 60 days to go for the US election, a major poll of tens of thousands of registered voters covering all 50 American states has predicted that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has enough of a lead to make her way to the White House.
Republican candidate Donald Trump, who clearly floundered in the immediate aftermath of the conventions of the two parties but made a bit of a comeback in recent days by toning down his rhetoric, lags way behind in the poll published by the Washington Post on Tuesday.
Clinton leads by four or more points in 20 states and the District of Columbia, which adds up to 244 electoral votes, just 26 shy of the 270 needed for her to win. Trump leads by at least four points in 20 states as well, but that adds up to only 126 electoral votes.
In the 10 remaining states, which have 168 electoral votes, neither Clinton nor Trump has a lead of four points or more.
Trump’s backing in the Midwest, which has more older and whiter voters who are expected to plump for him, is stronger, according to the poll by Washington Post and SurveyMonkey that covered nearly 75,000 registered voters. However, he is struggling in places that have consistently voted Republican, including Texas, where the poll showed a dead heat.
As expected, Clinton had a clear lead among white voters with a college degree. Such voters gave Clinton a lead over Trump in 31 states, and she also had the support of a majority of women voters with college degrees.
So far, some 40 consecutive polls have shown Clinton in the lead, with only a CNN/Orc poll published on Tuesday giving the real estate magnate a slim lead of two points.
The US election is scheduled for November 8 but early voting, allowed under American rules, will begin later this month in dozens of states.
Despite the lead given by most polls to Clinton, poll guru Nate Silver, the founder of FiveThirtyEight, tweeted that it more important to look at averages that emerge in the long-term. “Most bad polling analysis stems from people’s desire to take the most recent/most hyped poll as the gospel truth, instead of averaging data,” he said.
In the past eight US elections, the candidate who led on Labor Day – a holiday celebrated on the first Monday of September that has usually marked the entry into the home stretch for the election process – has gone on to win. And Clinton also remains a favourite among online bookmakers.
But Nate Silver wrote in a post on FiveThirtyEight that the clearest pattern is “simply that Trump has regained ground since Clinton’s post-convention peak”. He also said the degree of uncertainty was “higher than people might assume” because nearly 20% of voters are undecided or plan to vote for third partyu candidates.
With FiveThirtyEight’s models showing that Clinton’s lead peaked at about 8.5 percentage points in early August and that Trump has since sliced the figure roughly in half, the race is far from over.