The US Presidential Elections: Polls point to Democrat victory in home stretch

BILL CLINTON continues to solidify his position in state-by-state polls and, barring some unforeseen event, looks assured of a comfortable victory in the US presidential election in two weeks' time.

But the Independent's third battleground map of the US election suggests that talk of a Democratic landslide may be premature. Governor Clinton has yet to break through in the South. He looks likely to lose Texas, the third-biggest state, and the adopted home of President George Bush. In a handful of states - Iowa, Tennessee, Hawaii - the Democratic momentum has slowed.

Almost everywhere else, the electoral map is beginning to take on a deathly look for the Republicans. Ohio and New Jersey, two large bell-wether states that have voted Republican in every election in the last two decades, have moved into the 'Leaning to Clinton' column - a 12-point Clinton lead or more. Two pivotal Midwestern industrial states, Illinois and Michigan, have moved up to 'Solid Clinton' - a 20-point lead or more.

The map, based on published and internal party polls compiled by the two campaigns, gives solid or substantial leads for Mr Clinton in 26 states and the district of Columbia. This would be enough to give the Governor of Arkansas 329 votes in the electoral college, 59 more than he needs to become the first Democratic presidential winner for 16 years.

The map is weighted in Mr Bush's favour, in the expectation that the polls, now showing a 15- to 19-point national lead for Governor Clinton, will narrow substantially before election day. Many of the 10 states shown as too close to call are leaning to the Democrat by 10 points or less.

The 'Leaning to Bush' and 'Solid Bush' states - 14, worth 111 electoral-college votes - are leaning to him by slim or modest margins, with the exception of Utah, the only true Bush bastion.

To date, the revived campaign of the independent candidate, Ross Perot, has failed to alter the arithmetic in any state. Republican forecasts that he would flatten the Clinton lead in New Jersey, Ohio and California have been dashed. But Mr Perot's national poll score of 12 to 14 per cent has failed to give Governor Clinton the break-throughs hoped for in Texas and the South.

A senior Democratic strategist said the map represented the most advantageous position, two weeks from polling day, of any Democratic presidential candidate since the Johnson avalanche of 1964. 'We have every reason to be confident, but the race is not over yet,' he said. 'Clinton has still to persuade many people that they want to vote for him and not against Bush.'

None the less, Governor Clinton enjoys a huge strategic advantage in the last frantic two weeks of campaigning. US elections are decided not on the popular vote nationwide but the number of electoral-college votes won in first-past-the-post victories in the 50 states and Washington DC.

This time, in a reversal of the politics of the 1980s, it is the Republicans who must talk about 'threading the needle' - assembling victories in just enough states to reach the magic total of 270 votes in the electoral college. It is the Democrats who can afford to concentrate their resources in Ohio, Michigan, Florida, New Jersey and the South, where President Bush absolutely must win to have any chance or reaching an electoral-college majority.

The story of the campaign is this week's campaign schedule. President Bush, who had the South locked up in September four years ago, is taking a train through the Carolinas. Governor Clinton is invading Republican heartlands in the South - which have not seen a Democratic contender in October in years - and also visiting Wyoming, Montana and Nevada.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003