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Carson catches up with Trump, Clinton lead eroding

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By Arun Kumar

Washington: A day before the second Republican presidential debate, two new polls found neurosurgeon Ben Carson catching up with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s national lead narrowing with a rapid erosion of Democratic women’s support.

Amassing considerable new support from Republican voters, Carson at 23 percent is just four points behind real estate mogul Trump as their pick for the party’s presidential nomination, according to a new New York Times/CBS News poll.

“Far more than other Republican contenders, Carson has capitalised on his outsider message – a mix of anti-establishment views, delivered in a calmer tone than Trump’s, and socially conservative positions – to draw voters away from rivals and leap ahead in the poll,” the Times said.

images (2)While the proportion of Republican voters favouring Carson rose to 23 percent from 6 percent in the previous CBS News poll, taken just before the first televised Republican debate in early August, Trump made modest gains, rising to 27 percent from 24 percent.

Establishment favourite Jeb Bush fell in the poll, to 6 percent, from 13 percent, and Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin tumbled to 2 percent from 10 percent, according to the poll.

The only other significant gain was made by the third outsider in the Republican field, Carly Fiorina, the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, who drew support from 4 percent of voters, compared with a minimal percentage in midsummer.

Meanwhile a Washington Post-ABC News poll saw Clinton suffering a rapid erosion of support among “Democratic women” – the voters long presumed to be the bedrock in her bid to become the nation’s first female president.

Where 71 percent of Democratic-leaning female voters said in July that they expected to vote for Clinton, only 42 percent do now, a drop of 29 points in eight weeks.

Clinton’s erosion of support is largely attributed to the controversy surrounding her use of a private server when she was secretary of state and her response to it amid reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the security of her e-mails.

As a result, Clinton’s once-commanding national lead over Senator Bernie Sanders, who is running to her left, and Vice President Joe Biden, who is considering joining the race, has been cut by two-thirds, the Post said.

Both men are now polling in the low 20’s against her.

“The poll suggests that the historic significance of Clinton’s campaign is being overtaken by other forces,” the Post said.

Clinton, according to the Post, did not dispute the drop in support when asked about it Monday at a news conference in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

“I’ve been in and around enough campaigns to know that there’s an ebb and flow,” she said. “Polls go up and down.”

(IANS)

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President Donald Trump Key Force In Driving The Midterms Elections

Trump’s name will not appear on the Nov. 6 ballots, but, he will clearly be front and center in the minds of voters

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Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks at a rally endorsing the Republican ticket in Erie, Pennsylvania, VOA

Three weeks before a crucial U.S. midterm election, it would be difficult to find much that Democrats and Republicans agree on. Both parties, however, seem to agree on one thing: President Donald Trump will be the key issue in elections that will determine control of Congress for the next two years.

For many voters, the “Trump factor” could be a deciding consideration in this year’s midterms. And as the president campaigns on behalf of Republicans around the country, he is quick to remind his supporters that he has a huge personal stake in the outcome on Nov. 6.

“All of this extraordinary progress is at stake,” Trump told a recent rally in Southaven, Mississippi. “I’m not on the ballot. But in a certain way, I am on the ballot. So please, go out and vote. Go out and vote.”

Motivating Democrats

As much as Trump motivates his core supporters, he also energizes critics like Jenny Heinz, who helped organize a recent anti-Trump rally in New York City.

“There is an active resistance to this president, who is operating as if he is above the law.”

No question, Trump is the central figure in this year’s election, according to American University analyst David Barker.

“Yes, Democrats from the day after the election in 2016 have been waiting for this day, and it is all about Trump,” Barker told VOA. “Trump fully embraces that. He wants it to be all about him.”

Historically, midterm elections have been a mix of local issues, local candidates, and partly a referendum on the sitting president.

This year’s campaign seems to have accelerated a trend whereby midterm congressional elections have increasingly become nationalized.

“It really is now all national, and everyone is kind of looking at this as either a referendum for or against the president and his party,” said George Washington University expert Lara Brown.

Trump
supporters of President Donald Trump, wearing Mike Braun for Congress shirts, cheer as he arrives for a campaign rally at the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind. VOA

In the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, a majority of voters in both parties said a congressional candidate who shares their view of Trump is an important consideration as they assess the coming midterms.

Seizing the spotlight

Unlike some presidents who have tried to resist the idea that the midterms are a presidential referendum, Trump has willingly embraced it.

Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon told Associated Press Television that he favors the approach.

“I think if you make this a national referendum and nationalize this election on the success of President Trump’s program, it is a clear winner, and I think the Democrats get crushed.”

Others are skeptical, including former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

“All right, fine. You want it to be about you? Well, every candidate on the ballot now has to account for your behavior, has to account for your tweets,” said Steele, a recent guest on VOA’s Plugged In with Greta Van Susteren.

Climate Change, Trump
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. VOA

Trump hopes to boost Republican turnout in November; but, Democrats argue he is likely to be just as effective in spurring their voters to the polls.

Maryland Democratic Representative Dutch Ruppersberger also spoke on Plugged In.

“When all you do is care about yourself and not about people, not about what they need – like your seniors needing medical care. And you just want to look good and knock them out (politically), which is happening, this is hurting. And this is why, I think, a lot of people will come out (to vote).”

Tending the base

Trump has been aggressive on the campaign trail courting his base, especially in Republican-leaning states where many of this year’s closer Senate races are taking place.

“They are focusing on their base, and they are trying to make sure that they are going to show up and vote. And it could make some difference in close midterm elections,” said University of Virginia analyst Larry Sabato.

Trump, USA
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. administers the House oath of office to Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., during a mock swearing in ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, . VOA

Some Republicans have urged Trump to try and broaden his appeal beyond his base during campaign visits this year.

But Gallup pollster Frank Newport said the president has limited options.

Also Read: Obama On Why Its Important To Vote In This Midterm Elections

“He has kind of given up on attempting to broaden his appeal, it looks like. It fits more with his style,” said Newport. “He has, as we all know, a very combative style. He likes to have enemies because that gives him somebody to fight against. So, it would be hard for a president like Trump anyway to try and broaden his appeal.”

Trump’s name will not appear on the Nov. 6 ballots, but, he will clearly be front and center in the minds of voters, and the midterm results could determine the future of his presidency. (VOA)