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Hillary Clinton Appears To Expand Edge Into Traditionally Republican States


Two weeks from tomorrow, we will be at the end of this very long election season. So to tell us what the landscape looks like now and where we're going in these final weeks, we have NPR's lead political editor Domenico Montanaro. Hi there.


MCEVERS: Describe this presidential election and where it stands right now.

MONTANARO: Well, it's not close. You know, Hillary Clinton...


MONTANARO: ...Has expanded her lead nationally. And we're seeing that in key states as well - Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire for example. The needle has moved in Clinton's direction in all of them, even in places like Florida, Nevada and North Carolina as well. And those are all remaining though in striking distance for Trump, at least in the last three. But why that's important is that Trump has to win all of those states to get to 270 electoral votes. He can't just win some of them.


MONTANARO: The caveat here though, of course, is that people still have to vote. And at this point though, Hillary Clinton appears to have a very clear advantage.

MCEVERS: It seems like one of the mortal wounds in this election was the so-called "Access Hollywood" hot mic moment, of course, Donald Trump talking about how he approaches women. How much has that hurt him with women voters?

MONTANARO: Look, I think it's been the turning point in this race. I mean, suburban white women have shifted to Hillary Clinton. Her lead has ballooned in places like the Denver and Philadelphia suburbs. Now, Trump still has his hardcore supporters, of course. You know, he's very strong with white men who don't have college degrees. But that is not enough. Republicans just simply can't win a presidential election without the support of white women.

MCEVERS: How much has Hillary Clinton expanded the map? I mean, I've seen your battleground map. And we were looking at traditional Republican states like Arizona and Georgia that are now tossups. I mean, does she really have a shot in these places?

MONTANARO: It seems so, yes. I mean, Georgia and Arizona have been historically Republican states. But because of demographics, these have been put on the map. You're seeing Latinos, suburban white women now move more toward Hillary Clinton. And even Texas - Texas, Kelly - a state that most people would never think could be put on the map, Hillary Clinton within just a few points. Again, there because of suburban white women who have moved away from Donald Trump and Latinos, who traditionally haven't voted very strongly in Texas. But now people wondering if Donald Trump has woken the sleeping giant of the Latino vote.

MCEVERS: You raised this question, but I think it's worth asking. What if people just decide, well, it's - the election's over and they don't go vote? I mean, could there be some kind of surprise here for - in Trump's favor?

MONTANARO: Well, certainly, you know, that's always a question whether or not people will turn out because they think that the election is, you know, sealed. Obviously if Democrats vote in the way that they're telling pollsters right now, Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States. Of course, people still have to go vote. I have to say though, looking at the numbers it looks more likely that Republicans don't show up to vote. Moderate Republicans who are turned off by Donald Trump's rhetoric, but don't want to vote for Hillary Clinton, rather than Democratic groups who've been offended by Donald Trump.

MCEVERS: We know early voting has started in several states. What do we know about that?

MONTANARO: We know that more than 6 million people have voted so far, and that's just the beginning. Over the next week-and-a-half, as many as 40 million more people are going to head to the polls. So this is a pretty big, important time of the election. Democrats are doing well in places like Virginia, Florida, Nevada and North Carolina. Republicans are outpacing 2012 levels in Ohio and Iowa. But important point here, as I said earlier, Trump has to win all of these states - all of them. If Hillary Clinton wins just one, there is no path for Donald Trump.

MCEVERS: That's NPR's Domenico Montanaro. Thank you.

MONTANARO: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage.
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