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Clinton is leading Trump in some traditional Republican strongholds, according to a huge 50-state poll

Yet Trump has edged ahead of Clinton in a separate CNN/ORC poll, at 45% to 43% among probable voters.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

THE RACE BETWEEN between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for the White House has tightened with two months to go before Election Day, with a series of new polls today showing them essentially in a dead heat.

Trump has edged ahead of Clinton in a new CNN/ORC poll, at 45% to 43% among probable voters.

An NBC News poll of registered voters, meanwhile, shows Clinton’s lead holding at six percentage points, or 48% to 42%.

And another survey, this one by The Washington Post looking at all 50 states, shows Clinton with a solid lead in terms of electoral college votes, and even strength in some traditional Republican strongholds.

The various polls show how close the race is looking to 8 November, and makes the battle for the so-called swing states all the more important.

Clinton headed to Florida today to appear at a voter registration event, while the billionaire real estate mogul was due in Virginia for a town hall meeting and in North Carolina for an evening campaign rally.

“Thank you! #AmericaFirst,” Trump tweeted with the new CNN poll results.

The candidates have less than three weeks to go before the first of three scheduled presidential debates – expected to be the most watched moments of what so far has been a raucous campaign.

After hinting last month that he might not participate in all of them, Trump told reporters he was on board.

“I expect to do all three,” he said.

US map A graphic of electoral votes, with Clinton's in blue and Trump's in red. When 'solid' and 'leaning' accounts are taken into account, Clinton has 244 votes, and Trump has 126 votes. Source: The Washington Post

‘More than ready’

Yesterday, the candidates used ‘Labor Day’ – the traditional launch of the home stretch of the presidential campaign – to push their arguments that they would be best for working-class Americans.

But the Republican flagbearer’s unorthodox White House bid, including his campaign’s apparent imperviousness to criticism about his harsh rhetoric, assures a tight contest for the next two months.

“I’m not taking anybody, anywhere for granted,” Clinton told a crowd of more than 1,000 at a picnic in Cleveland.

“I’m ready. I’m more than ready,” she said of the intense battle ahead as she attempts to become the first female US commander in chief.

Clinton, 68, debuted her new campaign plane – with the slogan “Stronger Together” emblazoned on the side – and brought the press corps aboard her jet for the first time.

Under extensive criticism from her rival and journalists for not holding a full press conference in nine months, she answered questions for more than 22 minutes on several topics, including tensions with Russia over accusations of cyber-espionage.

Clinton expressed “grave” concern about reports that Russia has been interfering in the US electoral process through invasive cyber attacks on the Democratic Party and an apparent attack on voter registration systems in Arizona.

And she implied Moscow was trying to help get the 70-year-old Trump elected, saying:

I think it’s quite intriguing that this activity has happened around the time Trump became the nominee.

Campaign 2016 Clinton Hillary Clinton boards her campaign plane. Source: Andrew Harnik/PA

Republican messenger

Yesterday, Trump followed Clinton’s lead, inviting some journalists aboard his private jet where he discussed his immigration platform.

Just a week after traveling to Mexico for his first international trip as the nominee, and then returning across the US border to deliver a nativist immigration speech, he assailed Clinton for having “no plan” on immigration.

“What her real plan is, she has total amnesty” and a pathway to citizenship, he said, reiterating his opposition to such a legalization process without undocumented immigrants leaving the country first.

Under Clinton, “people can pour across the border and it doesn’t matter who the people are,” Trump said.

Clinton shot back by recalling Trump’s meeting with Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto, and their clash over Trump’s plan to have Mexico pay for a border wall.

Trump “can’t even go to a friendly foreign country without getting into a fight,” Clinton said, during a campaign stop in Hampton, Illinois.

Campaign 2016 Trump Trump on board his campaign plane yesterday. Source: Evan Vucci/PA

Blue-collar workers

Trump, who visited a Cleveland diner to meet with union members and the Canfield County Fair in eastern Ohio, is seeking to capitalize on simmering frustration among blue-collar workers over jobs and wages.

The candidates were joined by their running mates yesterday in Ohio, a signal of the importance each campaign places on the Buckeye State.

Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio said there was “more pressure on Trump” than Clinton to win there. He told AFP:

If Trump loses Ohio, he loses the race.

“Hillary can lose Ohio and still win because she’s going to win Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado,” and other swing states where she has built deep ground operations, Brown added.

© AFP, 2016

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