WASHINGTON, D.C.: One month from Saturday, Hillary Clinton is favored to make history as the first female US president. But with a resilient Donald Trump standing in her way, the Election Day outcome remains anything but certain.
The possible pitfalls – an “October surprise,” a Clinton debate meltdown, damning revelations from her controversial private emails or an act of terrorism – are unknowable now, but they have a potential to upend an already extraordinary 2016 campaign.
The Democratic candidate has a 3.2-point advantage over her Republican nemesis, according to the RealClearPolitics national poll average, heaping pressure on Trump to make up ground in the closing weeks of their battle to succeed Barack Obama in the White House.
She has the upper hand in swing states, too. Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin are tilting Clinton’s way, polls show.
Trump, 70, is leading in Iowa and the crucial state of Ohio, where he claims strong support among working-class white voters. But Clinton, 68, would not need those states if she can hold other battlegrounds.
Campaign momentum had swung in Trump’s favor ahead of his first debate with Clinton, on September 26.
The provocative real estate tycoon had seized on Clinton’s description of half of his supporters as “deplorables,” and earned praise for acting more disciplined.
But Trump – whose incendiary rhetoric and propensity to go off script have been campaign hallmarks – did not toe the line for long.
“After the debate, the Republican momentum ended,” Columbia University professor Robert Shapiro said.