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Hillary Clinton builds on gains after first debate

Hillary Clinton

WASHINGTON: Democratic White House hopeful Hillary Clinton has firmed up her lead over rival Donald Trump one week after their bruising first head-to-head debate, new polls released Monday showed.

Results from a nationwide poll by Politico and Morning Consult has Clinton surging, with 42 percent support from likely voters compared to 36 percent for Trump in a four-way race that includes two lesser-known candidates.

The result is a four-point climb for Clinton from the previous week’s poll, conducted just before their showdown at Hofstra University in New York.

A CNN/ORC poll conducted after the debate and released Monday showed a similar bounce for the Democrat, who led Trump by five points, 47 percent to 42 percent among likely voters nationwide.

Her gains stemmed importantly from increases in support among men and from independent voters, who had broken sharply in Trump’s favor until as recently as early September but were now backing Clinton, 44 percent to 37 percent.

A Fox poll released Friday showed Clinton with a five-point lead, 49 percent to 44 percent. But a Los Angeles Times daily tracking poll shows Trump ahead 47 to 42.4 percent.

Some polls in battleground states also showed bright spots for Clinton, particularly in Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, where she was polling ahead of Trump by single digits.

But Trump was holding tough in Ohio, according to Quinnipiac University’s latest swing-state poll.

Morning Consult said Clinton’s latest gains were largely among independent voters. Prior to the debate, Trump led Clinton by 12 percentage points among those voters. But in the organization’s new poll, she narrowed the margin to five points.

But she also made dramatic gains among millennials, young voters Clinton has tried to court in recent months but has struggled to win over.

Prior to the debate, she led Trump by eight points among voters age 18 to 29. Her lead ballooned to 32 points afterwards.

Both candidates remained underwater, however, in terms of voter likeability. Morning Consult’s poll shows 58 percent of likely voters having an unfavorable view of Trump, compared to 54 percent unfavorable for Clinton.

But the CNN poll found that Clinton supporters were increasingly enthusiastic about voting for president in 2016, at 50 percent extremely or very enthusiastic, up from 46 percent earlier in September.

Enthusiasm among Trump supporters slipped from 58 percent to 56 percent.

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