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Major 50-state poll shows leads for Hillary Clinton in key states

Washington Post/SurveyMonkey poll shows tight races in Texas and Mississippi, and challenges for Clinton in midwest even as electoral math looks rosy

A vast poll of tens of thousands of voters in all 50 American states published by the Washington Post on Tuesday showed Hillary Clinton with leads in enough states to bring her to the doorstep of victory despite significant challenges in places Democrats have been winning for decades.

For Donald Trump, key parts of the Republican base are under threat, the poll suggests, even as he puts pressure on Clinton in states such as Pennsylvania, where she recently enjoyed a nearly double-digit lead.

Clinton leads Trump by more than four points in 20 states plus DC, giving her a solid base of 244 electoral college votes, just short of the 270 needed to win, the poll indicates. Trump leads by more than four points in 20 states, but these add up to only 126 electoral college votes.

The Post poll, with its wealth of data, emerged as Trump broke a losing streak of 40 consecutive national surveys by major pollsters showing Clinton with a lead in the presidential race. In a CNN/Orc poll of registered voters published on Tuesday, Trump led Clinton by two points, 45-43, in a race that included the Libertarian and Green party candidates, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. The gap was within the polls margin of error.

Trump celebrated the moment on Twitter:

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2016

Thank you! #AmericaFirst

The sense that the presidential race is heating up was reinforced by the end of the long Labor Day weekend, the reopening of schools and the renewed or first-time focus by voters on the choice they will make in November. Sixty-three days remain in the presidential race. Early voting begins in dozens of states later this month.

Clinton retains a lead of between two and five points in averages of polls of the four-way race. Heres what the past five weeks look like, in RealClearPolitics poll average:

Real Clear Politics’ polling average

Even as the contest to succeed Barack Obama seemed to tighten, however, polling analysts warned that the long view was what counted. Most bad polling analysis stems from peoples desire to take the most recent/most hyped poll as the gospel truth, instead of averaging data, FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver tweeted.

Based on Tuesdays new numbers, a model maintained by FiveThirtyEight that takes into account polling data, the economy and historical data showed a slight uptick in Trumps chances of winning the White House, from 30.4% to 32.5%.

If the race is tightening a bit, the Post survey, conducted by the online polling firm SurveyMonkey, pointed to potentially alarming weaknesses for Trump supporters in the real estate moguls candidacy.

With scant indication that Trump has expanded on 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romneys appeal among nonwhite voters, Trumps most likely path to victory entails exceptionally strong support among white voters, whom Romney won 59-39 over Obama.

Trump, however, is losing to Clinton in a majority of states among white voters with a college degree, according to the Post/SurveyMonkey poll, which was conducted online from 9 August to 1 September among 74,886 registered voters across the country.

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Clinton v Trump on the economy: speeches underscore competing visions

The presidential candidates stick to party lines as Democrat backs expanded version of Buffett rule and Republican calls for tax cuts for all Americans

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump laid out their competing visions for the US economy in the past week, with varying degrees of detail and some surprising overlap. But the bulk of each speech was spent on the differences: Trump embraced more tenets of Republican orthodoxy and Clinton made pledges that progressives would be comforted to hear.

Tax cuts v the Buffett rule

Trump proposed tax cuts for all Americans, though the terms would disproportionately benefit wealthy people. The conservative-leaning Tax Foundation found that tax revenue would fall by $2.4 tn over the first decade, and the top 1% of Americans would make 5.3% more money under the Republican plan, which would consolidate seven tax brackets into three, of 12%, 25%, and 33%. Trumps new plan accepts more common Republican proposals; his old plan would have cut the top rate to 25%. The Tax Policy Center estimated his plan would reduce revenue by $9.5tn over a decade and increase the deficit by 80% by 2036.

Clinton, in contrast, has backed an expanded version of a proposal by billionaire investor Warren Buffett to tax the ultrarich. She proposed a fair share surcharge that would place an extra tax on people who make more than $5m a year, in an effort to close loopholes that often mean millionaires pay lower effective rates than middle-class families.

Corporate tax cuts v a carrot and stick

Corporate profits have by and large increased over the past 15 years while wages have stagnated. Trumps plan entails a cut to the corporate tax rate, to 15% from 35%, which he argues will entice companies to return to or stay in the United States to invest and create jobs. He has also often told crowds that he will threaten companies who want to move overseas with extremely high tariffs.

Clinton offered both benefits and threats. She said she would simplify taxes for small businesses and offer tax credits to companies that share profits with employees. Her campaign has laid out similar benefits for companies that invest in the US. But Clinton also threatened an exit tax for companies that want to move overseas, close the carried-interest loophole and strengthen financial regulators, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Repealing regulations v clean energy funds

In another nod toward conventional Republican ideas, Trump said he would place a moratorium on any new regulations, and he has frequently blamed environmental safety rules on the decline of the coal industry, whose market has been hugely taken over by natural gas companies.

Clinton took the common Democratic path and proposed new investment in clean energy and research. She gave no real specifics in her speech but her campaign has proposed a clean energy challenge that would partner the federal government with local counterparts to reduce pollution and invest in clean energy infrastructure.

Infrastructure funding

Clinton promised $250bn in federal infrastructure funding and a $25bn national infrastructure bank to create jobs and rehabilitate things such as the countrys roads, airports, water and electrical grids . Barack Obama struggled for years to pass major infrastructure funding through Congress, until he finally managed to convince lawmakers over to a five-year, $305bn plan last December. Clinton has said that higher taxes on the richest and corporations would offset the spending, and gave a few specifics about her plans, including expanded broadband internet around the US.

Trump spoke at length about deteriorating conditions of American infrastructure in his speech, and has said at many rallies that he wants to re-invest in utilities and transportation at home. But in his speech in Detroit he only spoke of infrastructure vaguely, saying: We will build the next generation of roads, bridges, railways, tunnels, sea ports and airports that our country deserves.

Trade deals and tariffs

Both Clinton and Trump said they would renegotiate trade deals they deem unfavorable to the US. But while the Republican has said he would start from scratch on deals, and possibly impose tariffs as high as 45% on imports from foreign companies, the Democrat said she would specifically stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages, including the Trans Pacific Partnership.

She also said she would appoint a chief trade prosecutor, triple the number of enforcement officers, and when countries break the rules we wont hesitate to impose targeted tariffs a less protectionist stance than Trump, yet sharing some of his philosophy about penalties directed at foreign corporations.

The death tax

Trump called for the repeal of the estate tax, a fine levied on wealthy inheritors that affects about 0.2% of all Americans, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, as the tax exempts the first $5.45m a person inherits. Clinton would leave the estate tax as law.

Families and childcare

Trump called for allowing parents to fully deduct the average cost of childcare spending from their taxes, which would most benefit families with moderate to significant childcare costs but not low-income families, who would have the least to deduct, and who by definition, pay less in federal income taxes. His campaign has said he also supports a credit to stay-at-home caregivers and an exemption on childcare expenses from half of payroll taxes.

Clinton has proposed tax credits, subsidized childcare and increased pay for childcare workers expensive proposals that she says will be offset by increased taxes and closed loopholes. She said she wants to limit the cost of childcare to 10% of family income, and to expand social security.

Higher education

Trump has largely ignored the issue of higher education, though he has bemoaned the high debts that many young Americans shoulder. In his speech, he merely said: likewise, our education reforms will help parents send their kids to a school of their choice, an allusion to supporting the repeal of federal education standards at the grade and high school levels. His partys official platform supports privatizing student loans, saying: the federal government should not be in the business of originating student loans.

Clinton said she would liberate millions of people who already have student debt by making it easier to refinance and pay what you owe as a portion of your income. She also advocated for federal support for trade schools and high-quality union training programs, and tax credits to companies that offer paid apprenticeships.

Earlier this summer her campaign compromised with Bernie Sanders, and agreed to support a plan that would eliminate tuition costs for four-year state colleges, for families who make less than $125,000 a year.

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Clinton blames Russia for DNC hack as Trump seems to back annex of Crimea

Democratic nominee accuses Trump of troubling willingness to support Putin while Republican rejects claims of link and people of Crimea would rather be with Russia

Hillary Clinton has once again blamed Russian intelligence services for hacking the Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer system and accused Donald Trump of supporting the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

As she did so, Trump denied having ties to Putin and Russia and appeared to voice his approval of Russias annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

In her first national interview since clinching the Democratic nomination, Clinton spoke to Fox News Sunday. The interview was taped in Pennsylvania on Saturday morning, before Trump criticized Khizr Khan, the father of a dead soldier, who spoke at the Democratic national convention.

Clinton answered tough questions on Benghazi, her emails and her campaign and policies, and focused her own attack on her opponents alleged links to Russia and Putin.

We know that Russian intelligence services hacked into the DNC, Clinton said, in her first interview with Fox in more than five years. And we know that they arranged for a lot of those emails to be released and we know that Donald Trump has shown a very troubling willingness to back up Putin, to support Putin.

Asked if she believed Putin wanted Trump to win the presidency, Clinton said she would not make that conclusion. But I think laying out the facts raises serious issues about Russian interference in our elections, in our democracy, she said.

The US would not tolerate that from any other country, Clinton said, adding: For Trump to both encourage that and to praise Putin despite what appears to be a deliberate effort to try to affect the election, I think, raises national security issues.

The hack of the DNC computers has also affected the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. For about five days, a hacker accessed an analytics data program maintained by the DNC that was used by the Clinton campaign to conduct voter analysis, said an aide familiar with the matter.

According to an outside cybersecurity expert for the Clinton campaign, the campaign is confident the hack could not result in access to internal emails, voicemails or other internal communications and documents.

The hack led to the resignation of the DNC chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, on the eve of the partys convention, inspiring protests over leaked emails that showed top DNC staffers had discussed ways to undermine Clintons primary opponent, Bernie Sanders.

The FBI is investigating and federal sources have indicated that Russian intelligence sources may be to blame. On Wednesday, Trump appealed to Russia to find 30,000 missing emails from the private server used by Clinton when she was secretary of state. He later said he had been being sarcastic.

The billionaires campaign has rejected all claims of links to Russia and Putin. On Sunday an interview with Trump, also recorded on Saturday, was broadcast on ABCs This Week. He repeated: I have no relationship with Putin. I have no relationship with Putin.

Asked about a comment from 2013 in which he said I do have a relationship with Putin, Trump said: Just so you understand, he said very nice things about me. But I have no relationship with him. He added: I dont think Ive ever met him. I never met him. I dont think Ive ever met him.

Trump was asked about his recent comments disparaging Nato allies, the softening of the Republican platform on Russia and Ukraine and his equivocations on Russias annexation of Crimea, the subject of US sanctions and United Nations disapproval.

Hes [Putins] not going into Ukraine, OK, just so you understand, he said. Hes not going to go into Ukraine, all right?

Reminded that in fact Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, Trump said: But you know, the people of Crimea, from what Ive heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were. And you have to look at that, also just so you understand, that was done under Obamas administration.

And as far as the Ukraine is concerned, its a mess. And thats under Obamas administration with his strong ties to Nato. So with all of these strong ties to Nato, Ukraine is a mess. Crimea has been taken. Dont blame Donald Trump for that.

In a statement issued later on Sunday, the Clinton policy adviser Jake Sullivan said: What is he talking about? Russia is already in Ukraine. Does he not know that? What else doesnt he know? While Trump hasnt mastered basic facts about the world, he has mastered Putins talking points on Crimea.

Asked about the removal from the GOP platform a call for supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine for defense purposes, Trump said: I wasnt involved in that. Honestly, I was not involved.

Host George Stephanopoulos said: Your people were.

Trump said: Yeah. I was not involved in that. Id like to Id have to take a look at it. But I was not involved in it They softened it, I heard. But I was not involved.

One of Trumps people, campaign chair Paul Manafort, previously worked for Viktor Yanukovych, the former president of Ukraine and a Putin ally who now lives in exile in Russia. Appearing on NBCs Meet the Press, he said he had no influence on the platform committee and the change absolutely did not come from the Trump campaign.

On ABC, Trump also said: If our country got along with Russia, that would be a great thing. When Putin goes out and tells everybody, and you talk about relationship, but he says, Donald Trump is gonna win. And Donald Trump is a genius. And then I have people saying, You should disavow. I said, Im gonna disavow that?

But when Putin says good things, and when we have a possibility of having a good relationship with Russia I think thats good.

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Tim Kaine greets crowd in Spanish as Clinton introduces VP pick in Miami

Virginia senator welcomes everyone in our country with bilingual address as Clinton and running mate take aim at Donald Trump and Mike Pence

Tim Kaine, Hillary Clintons newly minted running mate, had barely taken his place at the podium in Miami when he started speaking Spanish.

Bienvenidos a todos en nuestro pais, porque somos Americanos todos, the senator from Virginia said. It translated to: Welcome to everyone in our country, because we are all Americans.

Of Clinton, he said: Were going to be compaeros de alma [soulmates] in this great lucha [fight] ahead.

A crowd of thousands had queued for hours under the sweltering sun, lines snaking around the campus of Florida International University. They erupted into cheers.

Not long after, Kaine asked those who were naturalized US citizens to raise their hands. A sizable chunk of the audience obliged in a county that is home to a majority Hispanic population.

Thank you for choosing us, Kaine said, to another rousing reception.

Such moments captured dramatically a tale of two elections: Clinton and Kaine embracing the changing demographics of America, Donald Trump surging to the Republican nomination on a staunch anti-immigration platform and a pledge to build a wall on the US-Mexico border.

In Miami, one voter, Michael Paul Massaria, turned to his wife and remarked: Were not hearing all that doom and gloom like we did at the Republican convention in Cleveland.

On multiple occasions, Kaine was interrupted with chants of USA! USA! the sort of patriotism often on display at Republican events where time is dedicated to the projection of American strength.

But the supporters who packed into this basketball stadium were celebrating a different vision, one in which America is defined by its diversity and multiculturalism.

Weve got this beautiful country that should be a country of welcome, a country of inclusion, Kaine said.

He later vowed to advance comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US, in the first 100 days of a Clinton presidency. Such promises could be seen as wishful thinking, as Barack Obama has learned during his time in the White House. But Massaria, from nearby Davie, was quick to observe the benefit.

Kaines fluency in Spanish, he said, will help down the line with bringing in the Latino vote, especially here in south Florida.

Attendees like Anna Alvarez, a 67-year-old naturalized citizen who moved to Miami 43 years ago, were a testament to the potential appeal of a vice-presidential candidate campaigning for the first time in English and Spanish.

He will get in his pocket the millions and millions of Hispanics that Trump lost, she said.

Alvarez had never seen Kaine before, a fact the senator invoked with the self-deprecating declaration: Let me be honest: for many of you this is the first time youve heard my name.

A woman wearing a US flag hijab applauds in the crowd in Miami. Photograph: Scott Audette/Reuters

Alvarez said: Im one of the ones that didnt know his name, but he was incredible. Hes down to earth, I liked his background and his experience. I really like the way he was very proud of his wife.

Trump, she said, reminded her of the Cuban regime she fled from more than four decades ago.

I had the experience of [Fidel] Castro, she said, and Trump is a reminder of the dictators in the world. I am totally against anything that has to do with Trump.

Clinton, who sat beaming behind Kaine throughout his remarks, said in her introduction that America was united behind the the confidence, the optimism that we are stronger together.

Im so thrilled to announce that my running mate doesnt just share those values, he lives them, she said. Tim Kaine is everything Donald Trump and [his vice-presidentil pick] Mike Pence are not. Hes qualified to step into this job and lead on day one. And he is a progressive who likes to get things done.

Clinton announced late on Friday that she had picked Kaine, a senator from Virginia, following an extensive vetting process that lasted more than two months. Her choice followed a calculation that the working-class, swing-state senator could bolster her appeal not just among Latinos but also moderates and independents.

A faction of progressives are less enthusiastic about Kaines centrist record, particularly his approach to the regulation of Wall Street and his support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Clintons former rival, the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, did not immediately respond to the news. Clinton will formally accept the Democratic nomination for president this week, at the partys national convention in Philadelphia.

In Miami, Clinton touted Kaine as a pragmatic progressive.

When I say hes a progressive who likes to get things done, I mean it. Hes not afraid to take on special interests, Clinton said, adding that Kaine cares more about making a difference than making headlines.

And make no mistake. Behind that smile Tim also has a backbone of steel. Just ask the NRA.

Kaine was governor during the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, in which 32 students and faculty members were killed. The senator made reference to the tragedy on Saturday, pausing for a moment as he grew emotional.

It was the worst day of my life, he said.

Kaine recounted how he battled the National Rifle Association in his push for stricter gun laws, which eventually led to an executive order to bar firearm sales to individuals legally declared mentally ill or dangerous. Gun control has emerged as a prominent issue in the 2016 election. Kaine pledged: We will not rest until we get universal background checks.

It was one of his biggest applause lines.

Kaine also wasted little time going after Trump, invoking the real estate moguls recent comments that the US should not immediately come to the assistance of Nato allies unless they had fulfilled their obligations in return.

This drives home the stakes of this election, Kaine said, noting that his son was a US Marine who would deploy next week to Europe to uphold Americas commitment to our Nato allies. He added: Hillary Clinton is the direct opposite of Donald Trump. She doesnt trash our allies she respects them.

Trump last week chose Pence, the Indiana governor, as his vice-presidential candidate. A popular figure among evangelical conservatives and known, like Kaine, for his polite demeanor, Pence has nonetheless shed the nice-guy image in his new role as attack dog for Trump, echoing the real estate moguls message that Clinton is corrupt and disqualified from the presidency.

Trump sought to brand Kaine as beholden to special interests, tweeting early on Saturday that Clinton had in effect rejected the will of progressives and Sanders backers.

Tim Kaine is, and always has been, owned by the banks, he said. Bernie supporters are outraged, was their last choice. Bernie fought for nothing!

Later, Trump added: Just saw Crooked Hillary and Tim Kaine together. Isis and our other enemies are drooling. They dont look presidential to me!

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Bernie Sanders: the upstart who pointed the way toward a political revolution

His campaign was appealing for its unconventional vibe, but it was his message about the economic injustices of modern America that resonated with millions

He thinks hes running for mayor of America, whispered an exasperated campaign aide as Bernie Sanders attempted to slip quietly into a well-known Chicago diner for breakfast.

The morning of the Illinois primary in March was pregnant with anticipation, one of the several moments in the past 14 months when the presidency of the United States was conceivably up for grabs. The night before, thousands of euphoric supporters had shaken the fabric of the citys Auditorium Theatre with their stomping and cheers. Yet, here the former of mayor of Burlington was doing his best Larry David impersonation, awkwardly curbing the enthusiasm of those around him by trying to make as little fuss as possible about eating an omelette in front of a dozen cameras.

Gruff and avuncular, Sanders inspires affection and respect among those who work for him but, occasionally, frustration too. The breakfast at Lou Mitchells was intended as a photo opportunity, designed to show their candidate chatting with ordinary people and indulging in the sort of retail political theatre that the Clintons, Bushes and Barack Obama have made an indispensable hallmark of power.

When Sanders chose instead to walk briskly to his table and get on with his eggs, it summed up why millions of voters were drawn to him: despite, and often, due to this lack of polish, they were attracted to the campaign of a cranky old man who many had barely heard of previously, who was unafraid to describe himself as a democratic socialist and who, most of all, refused to play by the rules.

Over the course of this unlikely campaign, I covered more than 50 Sanders events for the Guardian. It was a only a fraction of the several hundred rallies that this 74-year-old and his wife Jane clocked up, but it was enough to encounter a remarkably consistent explanation for his ultimate victory in 22 states as he fought Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president. Many voters were excited about someone willing to rail against an economic and political system that was rigged against them and unafraid of dreaming big about an alternative vision of America. But all of them, critics included, were agreed that here was a rare breed in public life: an authentic.

Eventually, Sanders himself began to realise there was power in this anti-charisma. During walkabouts in New York and California like Illinois, two more primaries where expectations of Sanders performance briefly ran far ahead of the eventual reality a political rock star began to look comfortable with his fame. The adulation he received from fans during all those packed rallies helps partly explain why he was reluctant to let it go, long after those around him had privately conceded the delegate arithmetic was insurmountable. But another factor was that he had only just gotten used to the idea that he stood a chance at all.

On a cold February night in Iowa, the unthinkable became thinkable. After a stunning start to a presidential primary season that would soon smash all the conventional rules, Sanders finally began believing he could become the first self-proclaimed socialist in the White House.

Earlier that evening, the independent senator from Vermont had held Hillary Clinton tantalizingly close to a tie in the Iowa caucuses. As a presidential candidate, she was deemed so inevitable that few serious Democrats even considered running against her for the partys nomination. Yet the former secretary of state and first lady came within a few votes of losing her first encounter with the unpredictable 2016 electorate. This time it was not the charismatic Barack Obama rewriting the script, but an even more unknown outsider who was promising, and now threatening to deliver, a political revolution.

More election earthquakes were to follow. Within a week, Sanders would win New Hampshire by a record landslide. Soon after that, he would defy a 20-point deficit in opinion polls to take the primary in Michigan too. A string of successive victories in states out west would lead to dreams of even pulling off an upset in California.

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