Polls show Clinton with narrow edge five days before election

WASHINGTON — Five days from the U.S. presidential election, polls released Thursday showed the race narrowing, with Democrat Hillary Clinton holding on to a slim lead over Republican Donald Trump.

A New York Times/CBS poll found Clinton ahead 45 percent to 42 percent among likely voters, tighter than her nine-point lead in the same poll in mid-October. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.

A Washington Post/ABC News tracking poll found Clinton ahead within the margin of error, 47 percent to 45 percent, having lost ground to Trump since last week.

The two surveys showing Clinton still holding a lead halted a seven-day slide in the S&P 500 Index and prompted a rebound for the Mexican peso, a currency that has weakened when Trump’s outlook improves.

Among other new polls, Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP said Trump and Clinton were tied at 44 percent each, and Rasmussen found Trump ahead 45 percent to 42 percent.

In New Hampshire, a WBUR poll showed Trump ahead by one point, 40 percent to 39 percent. Other polls in the Granite State have shown Clinton leading consistently for months.

State-by-state polling averages continue to give Clinton an edge in the race to 270 Electoral College votes. Her challenge will be to maximize turnout among the Democratic coalition that powered President Barack Obama to two victories: millennials, nonwhite voters, and unmarried women. A Trump upset victory would likely require diminished turnout among Democrat voters and higher-than-expected turnout among Trump’s key coalition, primarily white voters without a college degree.

Independent Evan McMullin, a conservative protest candidate, has been competitive in the traditionally Republican state of Utah. A victory there would make him the first candidate outside a major party to win a state since 1968 and, if the election is very close, could hold both Trump and Clinton below 270 Electoral College votes, which would send the race to the U.S. House.

Clinton’s chances of victory slipped to 86 percent in the New York Times forecast and 67 percent in the FiveThirtyEight polls-only outlook.

A forecast Thursday by Larry Sabato, an election analyst at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, also said Clinton was favored to win, finding 293 electoral votes leaning toward or safely in her column, compared to 214 for Trump.

Sabato concluded that a letter Friday by FBI Director James Comey reviving scrutiny of Clinton’s private email server “has put a dent in Clinton in the final stages of the race, although the contest was tightening in some ways before the news.”

Sabato also moved its rating of the U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania to “leans Democratic” from “toss-up,” favoring challenger Katie McGinty over incumbent Pat Toomey. The analyst sees Republicans, who currently hold a 54-seat majority in the chamber, with 47 safe seats and Democrats with 48. Nevada, home of retiring Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, and Republican-held Missouri, Indiana, North Carolina and New Hampshire remain toss-ups, he said.

FiveThirtyEight gave Democrats a 62 percent chance of taking over the chamber in its polls-only forecast.

In the Republican-controlled House, Sabato said, “it appears that the door has finally and completely been shut on the prospects for a Democratic House majority. Clinton just does not appear capable of providing the lift required to put Democrats in range of a 30-seat net gain, and House generic polling averages don’t indicate a wave is coming in the lower chamber.”

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