Donald Trump sued by two states over business links

Attorney generals of Maryland and DC accuse US President of 'unprecedented constitutional violations'

US election polls: Can Trump win amid Clinton's email scandal?

1 November

A national poll of polls puts Hillary Clinton just 2.2 points ahead of Donald Trump, days after the FBI announced it was revisiting its investigation into her use of a private email server as secretary of state.

The Democratic presidential hopeful was as many as 7.1 points ahead two weeks ago, according to the RealClearPolitics poll, but the gap has since closed considerably.

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With no sign that the new FBI investigation will be completed any time soon, Clinton will go into Election Day with unspecified allegations hanging over her head.

But with only one week to go, Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post says polling experts are waiting for the news to "marinate with the public".

On a national level, Trump is getting "closer and closer and closer" to Clinton, he says, with both in a "statistical dead heat" of the mid-40s.

But even the gains Trump has made in some swing states have failed to put him ahead and he remains behind in most of them by a "statistically significant" number, says Cillizza.

According to Nate Silver's forecast at FiveThirtyEight, Clinton has an 85 per cent chance of winning the popular vote, but only a 75 per cent chance of winning the Electoral College, which gives Trump a ten per cent chance of winning the White House despite losing the popular vote.

Meanwhile, the odds on Trump winning the election have been slashed, says The Independent, but Clinton is still the bookmakers' favourite. For example, Ladbrokes and Coral are offering odds of 4/11 on Clinton and 2/1 on Trump becoming the next US president.

US election polls: Will FBI inquiry give Trump a boost?

31 October

A senior Democrat has accused the FBI of breaking the law by announcing a new investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of email less than two weeks before the presidential election.

Harry Reid, the leader of the party in the Senate, said FBI director James Comey has violated an act preventing officials from seeking to influence the outcome of an election.

Comey announced on Friday he was investigating a new batch of messages that may shed light on Clinton's use of a private email account and server while she was US secretary of state. An earlier investigation concluded she had been "extremely careless", but had not broken the law.

At rallies over the weekend, Clinton's Republican rival, Donald Trump, pulled back on his charge the election is rigged against him and instead used the FBI investigation to paint the Democrat as a corrupt leader.

"Comey has faced widespread criticism and senior Justice Department and FBI officials have been under tremendous pressure to review the emails quickly and assess their importance," says the New York Times.

The Clinton camp "declared war on the FBI" over the weekend, says The Sunday Times.

Campaign chairman John Podesta said the FBI announcement was "long on innuendo" and "short on facts", while Clinton herself referred to it as "unprecedented" and "deeply troubling".

It was "pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information right before an election", she added.

Donna Brazile, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, described it as an "18-wheeler smacking into us and it just becomes a huge distraction at the worst ­possible time".

It remains unclear what impact it will have on the election. The most recent national poll, by ABC News/Washington Post, showed Clinton in the lead by just one percentage point.

In a follow-up question posed after the FBI announcement, voters were asked whether the issue would make them more or less likely to vote for Clinton. A little more than a third said they were less likely, while nearly two-thirds said the issue would make no difference to their vote. The majority of those who said they were less likely to vote for Clinton were Republicans or Republican-leaning independents.

"The issue may do more to reinforce preferences of voters opposed to Clinton than swing undecided voters," says the Washington Post.

RealClearPolitics' national poll of polls, which takes this latest survey into account, gives Clinton a 4.3-point lead.

US election polls: Can Donald Trump really win?

26 October

With Hillary Clinton five points ahead in the national poll of polls, some US commentators are beginning to speculate on a landslide victory for the Democratic nominee next month. Others, however, think Donald Trump still stands a chance of making it to the White House.

Clinton has dominated individual polls in recent weeks, with some putting her as many as 12 points ahead. Bookmakers have also put her firmly in the lead.

"But the thing is, [Trump] hasn't lost yet," says Jake Novak at CNBC. "First off, people often do vote or tip off their vote with their feet. And Trump rallies are still jam-packed, compared not only to Clinton's rallies, but the usual attendance we see at political rallies even this close to Election Day."

Both candidates also have an "almost equally poor likeability factor", says Novak. Meanwhile, non-election polls show a large majority of Americans think the country is going in the wrong direction - "well into the territory where historically the incumbent party in the White House is toast", he says.

Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore also thinks Trump could succeed. He is backing Clinton after initially supporting left-wing hopeful Bernie Sanders, but says Republican supporters have been misread.

"I know a lot of people in Michigan that are planning to vote for Trump," he says. "They don't necessarily like him that much and they don't necessarily agree with him. They're not racists and red-necks; they're actually a pretty decent people."

Trump is the "Molotov-cocktail" that every "beaten-down nameless forgotten working-stiff" has been waiting for, continues Moore, the "human hand-grenade that they can legally throw into the system that stole their lives from them".

They see the businessman upsetting corporate America, Wall Street, career politicians and the media and will use their constitutional right to vote for the enemy of their enemy, he adds, saying: "Trump's election is going to be the biggest f*** you ever recorded in human history."

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US election polls: Trump camp claims polls don't reflect reality

24 October

Hillary Clinton has vaulted to a double-digit poll lead over her rival US presidential candidate, prompting Donald Trump's campaign team to admit: "We are behind."

At 50 per cent to 38 per cent, this is Clinton's biggest advantage yet in an ABC News poll. The 12-point lead, among people who say they are likely to vote, is a huge jump from the four points she held over Trump on 13 October.

Clinton's campaign has been boosted by "broad disapproval" of Trump's treatment of women and his reluctance to accept the result of the election as legitimate, says ABC.

Accordingly, the survey found that 69 per cent of likely voters disapproved of Trump's treatment of women, while 59 per cent rejected the tycoon's claim the election will be rigged in favour of his opponent.

Some 65 per cent said they disapproved of Trump's refusal to commit to accepting the election result, with more saying they "strongly" disapprove than simply "disapprove", something ABC says is unusual.

Meanwhile, Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, made a frank admission to NBC. "We are behind," she said.

However, Conway insisted that the polls did not reflect the reality of voter intentions. She said: "Let me tell you, you go out on the road with Donald Trump and this election doesn't feel over."

Complaining that some media outlets are already saying Trump has lost, she added: "That is so unfair to the voters who have yet to go to the ballot box and exercise their constitutional rights to tell us who should be president of the United States and commander in chief."

Admitting that Clinton has the lead in polls, Conway was quick to give excuses. She said: "She has some advantages, like $66m in ad buys just in the month of September.

"She has a former president, [who] happens to be her husband, campaigning for her. The current president and first lady, vice president, all much more popular than she can hope to be. And she's seen as the incumbent."

Another poll by CBS suggests that Clinton is just "a stone's throw away" from winning Texas, traditionally a staunchly Republican state, says Slate.

A Clinton victory in the Lone Star State remains unlikely, however, says the magazine – but the strength of the tilt towards the Democratic candidate is undeniable. Earlier this week, another poll put Trump just two points ahead there.

US election polls: Who is in the lead?

21 October

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won Wednesday night's debate against her rival Donald Trump, according to a post-debate poll by YouGov.

Of the 1,503 registered voters surveyed, 49 per cent said she was the victor against 39 per cent for the businessman, with 12 per cent thinking it was a tie.

Seven in ten said Clinton showed "good" or "excellent" knowledge of policies, compared to just four in ten for Trump.

In a CNN/ORC poll, the former US secretary of state won 52 per cent to the Republican's 39 per cent. The majority thought she had a better understanding of the important issues and was better prepared to handle the presidency.

That gives Clinton a television debate hat-trick, says CNN/ORC, although her lead has fallen from 35 points in the first debate to 23 in the second and 13 points in last night's debate.

In the national poll of polls by RealClearPolitics, Clinton is 6.3 points ahead of Trump, overall.

The results make it harder to imagine a Republican win at the US election in three weeks' time. David Byler, an elections analyst for RealClearPolitics, says "a Trump comeback is improbable" after his middling-to-bad debate performances and the release of a video showing him making lewd comments about women.

"Trump is missing his benchmarks and his ability to shift the polls may quickly start to wane," he says, adding polls normally don't move more than 3.4 points toward either candidate within three weeks of the election.

However, such benchmarks are "not ironclad laws" and "something unexpected could happen", he says.

Nate Silver, editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight, doesn't think the Brexit comparison works, as the final EU referendum polls showed a toss-up between Leave and Remain before Leave won by four points. If the US polls were wrong by that much, Trump would still lose.

Silver thinks "Clinton may have finished him off" in the final debate, pointing out that there are now no more guaranteed opportunities for either candidate to command a huge public audience, as they did at the conventions and the debates.

"It's perhaps significant that almost no matter what news has occurred, and there's been a lot of it – terrorist attacks, mass shootings, foreign crises, her email scandal, the WikiLeaks dump, her September 11 health scare – Clinton has almost always led Trump in the polls, although there have certainly been times when the election was close," says Silver.

It's possible there will be an October surprise, or November surprise, he says, but this could equally work against Trump, and while a polling miss is also possible, it could just as easily show that Clinton has been underestimated.

Daryl Jones at Fortune suggests three unlikely ways in which Trump could win: the polls could be wrong; Wikileaks could drop a "bomb" that damages Clinton; or there could be an "October surprise", such as a revelation about the Democrat's health or her husband, former president Bill.

The odds of Trump winning seem "increasingly unlikely" as Clinton widens her lead and the undecided proportion of voters reduces, continues Jones.

However, on the day before the UK's EU referendum, the polls had the Remain camp at 48 per cent versus 46 per cent for Leave, Jones says, and "we all know how that played out".

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US election polls: Donald Trump steps up 'rigging' claims

17 October

Republican Donald Trump redoubled his claims that the US presidential election is fixed as a new poll showed him falling further behind his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

The businessman tweeted the contest was "absolutely rigged" by the "dishonest and distorted" media, as well as at "many polling places".

He claimed the media, in a "coordinated effort with the Clinton campaign", were putting stories "that never happened into news".

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The New York Times said the claims were a "vivid illustration of how Trump is shattering American political norms" and risked "destabilising the election".

Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, sought to downplay the suggestions during an interview with NBC's Meet the Press. The Republican Party would "absolutely accept the result of the election", he said.

However, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump's top advisers, said he believed Democrats could "steal the election by having dead people vote in inner cities".

He added: "Dead people generally vote for Democrats rather than Republicans."

Fellow Trump supporter Newt Gingrich also claimed that without the media's "unending one-sided assault", the Republican would be 15 points ahead.

It has been a disastrous seven days for the businessman's campaign and observers say the claims are an attempt to deflect attention away from the accusations of sexual assault levelled at him.

"Against the ropes, Mr Trump lashed out from the stump by forcefully denying reports that he groped women and even suggested that one of his accusers wasn't attractive enough to be a target," says the Washington Times. "He insinuated that Mrs Clinton was on drugs at the last debate and urged his supporters to watch out for funny business at the polls on Election Day."

BBC Washington correspondent Laura Bicker says Trump's renewal of election-rigging claims allows him "once more to paint himself as the anti-establishment figure being victimised by the Washington political elite".

She adds: "It also gives him an excuse if he loses."

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows Clinton leading by 11 points nationwide, while RealClearPolitics's poll of polls gives her an average 5.5-point lead ahead of the election on 8 November.

US election polls: Can Donald Trump still beat Hillary Clinton?

13 October

The first post-debate polls from the weekend have arrived and according to FiveThirtyEight they are to be placed in the "still getting worse for Trump bucket."

"Trump's chances are down to 14 per cent in our polls-only forecast (against an 86 per cent chance for Hillary Clinton) and to 17 per cent, a record low for Trump, in our polls-plus forecast," says the website.

One post-debate state-wide poll from Ohio shows Trump trailing Clinton by 9 percentage points, which is desperately bad news for the billionaire tycoon as Ohio is a key bellwether state having voted for every elected President since 1960.

Across the other forecasts, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll placed Clinton eight points ahead, with one in five Republicans saying Trump's vulgar comments about groping women disqualify him from the presidency.

The poll also went against Trump's claims that he "won the second debate by a landslide." Among those who said they watched at least portions of the debate, 53 per cent said Clinton won while 32 per cent said Trump won. The results fell along partisan lines, however: 82 per cent of Democrats felt Clinton won, while 68 per cent of Republicans felt that Trump won.

Among likely voters who watched the debate, 48 per cent said they supported Clinton while 38 per cent supported Trump.

Trump is even "shedding support" among evangelicals, usually firm Republican voters, says Reuters. Their most recent poll showed that he had only a 1-point edge over Clinton among people who identified as evangelicals. That's down from a 12-point advantage in July.

National opinion polls do measure support in different ways but most agree that Clinton is in the lead and that her advantage has strengthened as the general election approaches.

RealClearPolitics, which tracks most major opinion polls, shows Clinton ahead of Trump by an average of 7 percentage points, and that her lead has steadily increased since the middle of September.

So can Trump claw his way back? It's highly unlikely, says FiveThirtyEight, with the website winkingly likening the chance to "losing a game of Russian roulette."

"While a Trump comeback is still mathematically feasible, it wouldn't really have any good precedent in recent American presidential elections," says the website.

US election polls: Donald Trump battered in the polls

12 October

A poor showing in the first two presidential debates, together with revelations of lewd sexual talk, have battered Donald Trump's standing in the polls.

In the race for the White House, Hillary Clinton led the Republican candidate by 6.5 percentage points as of Tuesday, according to the RealClear Politics average of national polls.

"That gap may be all but impossible to close by 8 November, when voters go to the polls," says CNBC, because polls in the last three presidential elections show that voter preferences tend to solidify when the election is less than 30 days away.

CNBC notes that at this point in 2012, Barack Obama led rival Mitt Romney by just 0.7 of a point but went on to win by 5 million votes. This year's poll gap more closely resembles that of 2008, when Obama was up by 5.5 percentage points on John McCain 28 days before the election.

It follows a bad fortnight for Trump. The billionaire tycoon was panned for his performance in the first presidential debate on 26 September and the second was overshadowed by the release of tapes in which he denigrated women.

The Washington Post uses the poll average to calculate that if the election was held today, Hillary Clinton would win 341 electoral votes to Donald Trump's 197.

These numbers, it says, "reflect the fact that Trump's always-narrow path to 270 electoral votes has become a footpath – at best – over the past two weeks or so, dating back to the first presidential debate".

What's more, the "toss-up" state of Pennsylvania is now likely to vote Democratic, a move that the Post says is "hugely significant" for Trump's chances.

If he lost Pennsylvania, "he would literally need to run the table of the states remaining in that category – and then some – to win".

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