Donald Trump's horror week sees Clinton poll surge
After what many reckoned was one of Donald Trump's worst weeks as a presidential wannabee, a new poll suggests that Hillary Clinton has now secured a nationwide lead of six points over her rival.
The latest poll by NBC puts Ms Clinton on 46 points, with Mr Trump on 40. Libertarian Gary Johnson is a little down from his position last week and is on nine points, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein remains on three points.
The conclusions of the NBC poll are largely in line with findings of two other surveys. A polls by CNN/ORC put the Democratic candidate on 47 points with her Republican rival on 42, while another by CBS scored it 45-41 in favour of Ms Clinton.
The surveys appear to underscore a general sense among political insiders and members of the public that Mr Trump performed less than convincingly in the first presidential debate, and that he compounded problems by spending much of the remaining week involved in a strange, unnecessary controversy over his treatment of a former Miss Universe winner two decades ago.
With just a month to go before election day, many political observers felt the New York reality television star wasted time and energy in a spat over Alicia Machado, a former beauty queen whom he shamed 20 years ago after she allegedly put on weight.
Ms Clinton brought up Mr Trump's treatment of her during the debate at Hofstra University in New York. Later, she said that a flurry of 3am tweets Mr Trump posted about the controversy was "unhinged".
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Experts said Ms Clinton's edging ahead of Mr Trump was the result of cutting his lead among men and whites without a college degree, while also opening up a lead over Mr Trump among independent voters.
Professor Jeanne Zaino of Iona College said she was not surprised by the bump Ms Clinton received, rather by how modest it had been. She said Mr Trump had suffered his work week on the campaign, indeed, it was perhaps the worst week on the campaign trail in any modern race.
"Everyone expects a bump after they win a debate and every acknowledges she won the debate," she told The Independent. "The fact that the bump is so small will be of concern to her."
Ms Zaino said Ms Clinton's modest lead was an indication of the polarised nature of the electorate. She said most politicians would be have be destroyed by the sort of seven days experienced by Mr Trump.
"He has had bad weeks before and then recovered," she said. "If I was her, I'd not be measuring the drapes [for the Oval Office] just yet."
The Huffington Post has calculated that based on the way the US electoral college voting system works, Ms Clinton has an 82.6 per cent liklihood of winning the election, compared to 17.2 per cent.
The calculations, based on various simulations, suggest Ms Clinton is in a more comfortable position than the national polls may suggest.
"The national polls are a good indication, but they may not pick up the how big or small the margin might be," said Natalie Jackson, the senior polling editor.