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Clinton leads Trump by hair on Election Day, but no guarantees for victory in tight election

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-11-09 06:13

WASHINGTON  -- US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is in good shape as American voters head to polls Tuesday, but her slight lead over Republican rival Donald Trump is no guarantees for a win in a tight election.

Clinton is leading Trump by 3.2 percent points in the RealClear Politics average of national polls on Monday. That means that while Clinton may squeak by, the election may still be up for grabs.

Trump' s campaign has seen more ups and downs than a busy elevator. Some polls in recent months have seen the brash billionaire leading Clinton by a point or two. And while it seemed just a few weeks ago that his campaign was doomed after the release of tapes in which he made outrageous sexist comments, Trump was able to spring back and resuscitate his campaign.

After that, Trump's numbers surged recently after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) re-opened its investigation into Clinton's email scandal. Still, Clinton is ahead and looks to be in good shape as Americans head to the polls, experts said.

"Clinton appears to be in good shape for Election Day," Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Darrell West told Xinhua.

"The FBI has dropped its investigation into her emails and said there was no basis for an indictment." Clinton has high-profile surrogates on the campaign trail including Beyonce, Lebron James, and Katy Perry, West said, referring to US celebrities who are wildly popular.

He added that Clinton has a fundraising advantage over Trump that has allowed her to outspend him considerably in the campaign.

Democrats have a much stronger turnout operation than Republicans, which in swing states will help them mobilize Clinton's supporters. "Based on early voting numbers, Latinos seem to be turning out in record numbers and most of them are expected to vote Democratic," West said.

Dan Mahaffee, an analyst with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, told Xinhua that if the polls hold true and Hillary does win by a hair, it will reflect both the strength of an ascendant Democratic voting coalition of young people, minorities, and more educated voters that has a lock on the Electoral College.

"It will also represent a huge missed opportunity for the GOP, given that there are still many dissatisfied Americans who want change. Yet (the GOP) channeled it into the most unconventional-and ultimately unelectable-GOP nominee in recent history," West said, referring to the Republican Party.

When asked whether the FBI's recent dropping of its case will help Clinton, Mahaffee said that it will help her slightly, but the damage was still done. The controversy gave some moderate Republicans a reason to vote for Trump rather than staying home, voting for a third-party candidate, or crossing over to Clinton.

"With such high disapproval numbers for both candidates, neither has benefited from extended media attention to one scandal or another, and the FBI refocused attention back on the emails," Mahaffee said, referring to the very high negative rates of both candidates.

The 2016 race for the White House will be remembered for being the contest in which both candidates have unusually high negative rates, with each being despised by certain demographics.

While Trump is highly popular among white blue-collar Americans, he is hated by many single women and Latinos. For her part, Clinton is somewhat popular among her own supporters, but deeply distrusted by much of the public.

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