Hillary Clinton’s confidence could cost her the US presidency, according to a leading American political scientist who claims that Donald Trump is on course to win the US election.
The warning comes amid concerns from the Clinton campaign team that voter turnout will yet prove critical, despite many polls suggesting that the Democratic candidate is ahead of her Republican rival.
The latest results from the poll considered to have most accurately predicted the results of the last three elections, by IBD/TIPP, suggest that Ms Clinton may have a lead of just 0.6 per cent over Mr Trump, with 41.8 per cent backing the former US Secretary of State compared with 41.2 per cent for Mr Trump.
In Florida, a key state for signalling the winning candidate in previous elections, Mr Trump may be ahead of Clinton, with 45 per cent compared with 43 per cent for his opponent, according to a Bloomberg Politics poll.
Professor Helmut Norpoth, from the Department of Political Science at Stony Brook University in New York, has correctly predicted the past five US presidents.
Using a statistical model based on previous election results, he is predicting that Mr Trump will triumph next month. Professor Norpoth told i: “My forecast says that he’s going to win 52.5 per cent of the two-party vote, that would give Hillary 47.5 per cent. I attach something like 87 per cent certainty that he’s going to win.”
Professor Norpoth admits that his prediction is not shared by many pollsters, with most showing Ms Clinton just ahead of Mr Trump – one by as many as 12 points. But he added: “My forecast is not poll-driven – I don’t live by the polls so I don’t die by the polls.”
It is to Mr Trump’s advantage that he represents a party which has been out of power for almost a decade, Professor Norpoth argues: “It’s very difficult for a party that’s been in the White House for two terms to get a third term, it’s not very common.”
He added: “Obama openly won by about half the margin in 2012 compared to 2008 so that shows that the trajectory of the vote for the Democrats is down.”
Ms Clinton’s confidence could result in defeat, he claims. “I think that’s been a problem all along. She was complacent when she ran against Obama in 2008 and lost and I think she believes too much of the hype that she’s ahead in the polls.”
But Professor Alan Abrahamowitz, a political scientist based at Emory University Atlanta, Georgia, told i: “I think it’s extremely unlikely that Trump will win.” He added: “Clinton’s margin in the national polls is substantially greater, at this point, than Obama’s margin was four years ago.”
Mr Trump is the most controversial presidential candidate in living memory, while both candidates have had to defend themselves against damaging allegations.
In his case, these include a raft of sexual abuse allegations made by several women, while Ms Clinton has been dogged by questions about using her own private email account for US government business.
The bitterness which has surrounded an increasingly personalised campaign continued this week. The billionaire businessman opened a new hotel in Washington and boasted: “Today is a metaphor for what we can accomplish for this country.”
Ms Clinton, speaking at a rally in Lake Worth, Florida, countered: “While the hotel may be new it’s the same old story: he has stiffed American workers, he has stiffed American businesses.”
She appealed to her supporters not to take their “foot off the gas” and warned them that every vote will count in the coming election.