November 5, 2016

THE HILL: “Donald Trump is closing his campaign strongly, staying on message and keeping his impulses in check as he rides cresting momentum into Election Day.”

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton now leads Trump by an average of just 1.7 percentage points nationally, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls. Less than three weeks ago, Clinton led by 7 points on the same model.

Trump remains the underdog and has only a narrow road to victory. He must hold every state Mitt Romney won in 2012, add Ohio, Iowa and Florida, and then flip a blue state or two.

But the Republican’s chances keep growing — and he has kept himself on message as media coverage has focused on Clinton and the FBI’s investigation of her private email server.

FiveThirtyEight’s forecast model gives Trump a 34 percent chance of winning. On Oct. 17, the same model gave Trump a 12 percent chance.

Trump has surely been helped by the FBI controversy, which has kept the spotlight on Clinton’s biggest vulnerability. But he’s also managed to get out of the way of it, something he often failed to do in the past during moments of controversy.

“He has done very well and I think will finish well,” said Republican strategist Charlie Black, a friend of Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. “This is going to be very close.

It’s not just the FBI probe that is helping Trump, either.

“Another major factor,” Black added, “is all the news about ObamaCare’s huge premium increases.”

There’s a lot of fail on the Hillary/Obama side.

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