Hillary Clinton's once-hefty lead over Donald Trump is melting as the post-Labor Day final phase of the presidential contest approaches.
CNN's poll of polls has Clinton at 42 percent to Trump's 37 percent in five nationwide polls - down from her 10-point lead after the July convention. The Real Clear Politics poll analysis shows Trump narrowing Clinton's lead to 4 points.
And some polls, including a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Friday, showed Trump has pulled into an effective tie with Clinton after his tough-talking immigration speech. Rasmussen Reports, too, shows Clinton trailing Trump for the first time since July.
But Clinton still holds a clear edge in the race to win 270 electoral votes. Here's the take from Adam C. Smith of the Tampa Bay Times:
Let’s assume Trump wins the 22 states that have gone Republican in each of the past four elections and Clinton wins the 18 states that have gone Democratic in each of the past six. (Yes, we know Trump has talked about upending the conventional map and winning solidly Democratic states like New York, but that appears to be a pipe dream.)
Put the reliably red states in Trump’s column and reliably blue in Clinton’s. She starts off with 242 electoral votes to 180 for Trump. That leaves 10 potential battleground states — Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico — with a total of 116 electoral votes.
Trump practically has to sweep those states to win. But Clinton could lose every one of those states except Florida and still win the presidency. Or she could merely win Virginia (where she is heavily favored) and Ohio (where she narrowly leads). In other words, she has multiple paths, Trump doesn’t.