Hillary Clinton has widened her lead over Donald Trump in several states, including battlegrounds like New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Colorado, as more voters say the business mogul is not qualified to be president, according to polls from those states.
The polls also indicate that voter wariness of the Republican nominee could hamstring the party's push to maintain control of the Senate, with Republicans losing ground in several key races.
The advantage for Clinton is so strong in Colorado, a traditional swing state, that the campaign temporarily stopped buying advertisements there in July, diverting the money to other regions, according to The Colorado Independent
and other media sources. Clinton campaigned in Colorado on Wednesday.
“Colorado is no longer a battleground state,” prominent Colorado political analyst Floyd Ciruli wrote on a blog
for his Ciruli and Associates consulting firm. Ciruli cited several trends, including a growing Hispanic population and a local Republican Party that has been hostile to Trump.
Colorado Republican officials said, however, they were confident about their chances, a sentiment that was shared by Trump.
“We’re going to win in ’16, I have no doubt about it,” state party Chairman Steve House told GOP voters at a recent event in Colorado Springs, according to the newspaper.
Trump told supporters there in July that he was not concerned.
“We do have to win Colorado,” he said during a July 1 speech in Denver, according to the paper. “I will be back a lot, don’t worry about it. I will be back a lot.”
Clinton was leading over Trump by an average of 8 points in polls compiled by Real Clear Politics in early July. Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet was polling an average of 12 points ahead of Republican Darryl Glenn. Bennet was once considered vulnerable and offered Republicans a rare chance to flip a Senate seat. The Republican challenge, though, has been hampered by allegations of voter signature fraud and resignations of top party officials.
The numbers show similar spikes for Clinton and down-ballot Democrats in other states.
Clinton is leading Trump by 15 points in New Hampshire, according to the Boston public radio station WBUR . That lead was attributed partly to a post-convention bump. The last time the station polled the state three months ago, the race was virtually tied.
"After all the hand-wringing about whether Bernie Sanders supporters would end up supporting Hillary Clinton, she's now getting 86 percent of the Democratic vote," Steve Koczela, president of the MassINC Polling Group, which conducted the WBUR survey, told the station. "Donald Trump, on the other hand, has slipped a bit among Republicans. He's now getting a bit less than two-thirds of the Republican vote."
The WBUR survey also found that, while voters were split about Clinton's fitness for the job, their concerns about Trump were far greater. Forty-eight percent of likely voters say Clinton is fit to be president, 46 percent say she's not, it found. Less than a third say Trump is qualified, and more than 60 percent say he's not.
In the Senate race — one of the most competitive in the country — Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan has a 10-point lead over incumbent Republican Kelly Ayotte, the poll found. Like many vulnerable Republicans, Ayotte has tried to maintain a middle ground on the controversial presidential nominee.
She has not explicitly endorsed him and has criticized some of his more controversial statements, though she has said she supports the Republican nominee.
"There's a very close relationship between the votes for Kelly Ayotte and Donald Trump," Koczela told WBUR. "Their support is sort of locked together. And with the direction that Donald Trump seems to be heading in, Kelly Ayotte's task is to somehow decouple those two."
In Pennsylvania, another swing state, the most recent Franklin & Marshall College
poll shows that Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump 49% to 38% among likely voters. In the Senate race there, a dead-heat that is rated Tilt Republican
by The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call, Democrat Katie McGinty has a one-point lead over Republican Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, the poll found.
Clinton is also widening her lead
in Michigan, according to a poll published Thursday in The Detroit News. That poll, a statewide survey of 600 likely voters conducted Saturday through Monday for The Detroit News and WDIV-TV
found Clinton led Trump 41 percent to 32 percent. It also found that three in five likely voters said Trump was not qualified to be president.
“He’s sitting in the cellar right now, and they’re going to have to do something to dramatically turn this around,” pollster Richard Czuba told the newspaper. Czuba is the president of the Glengariff Group polling firm. “If I were a Republican running on this ticket right now, I’d be beyond nervous.”
Bobby Schostak, a former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, however, told the newspaper the polling in Michigan is likely to change this fall as voters get a closer look at Clinton and Trump in three presidential debates.
“It’s early August," he told the newspaper. "We’ve got a lifetime in front of us before November.”
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