NEW YORK CITY, New York — The Old Dominion is back on the chessboard as the final week of the campaign begins with a new poll from Boston’s Emerson College showing Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton’s lead there has nearly evaporated.
Clinton is only ahead of her Republican opponent Donald J. Trump by four percentage points—just outside the 3.4 percent margin of error—in Virginia. This is the state’s first survey taken since FBI director James Comey announced he was reopening the criminal investigation into Clinton’s illicit home-brew email server that she set up in violation of State Department guidelines.
The poll of 800 likely voters found Clinton at 49 percent compared to Trump’s 45 percent. Libertarian Gary Johnson pulled three percent and the Green Party’s Jill Stein pulled one percent. The survey was conducted from Friday Oct. 28 through Sunday Oct. 30.
The fact that things are this close in Virginia is shocking to many political observers in the home stretch here, as it was widely presumed that Clinton had wrapped up the state a long time ago with the selection of Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate. But now it seems that the Democrats’ grip on Virginia is slipping, and its 13 electoral votes hang in the balance. Without those electoral votes, Hillary Clinton’s pathway to the White House becomes essentially non-existent.
Clinton starts the race with a default of about 185 electoral votes, giving her California, Oregon, Washington state, New York state, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Illinois, Vermont and Maine’s first congressional district.
With Trump putting traditionally blue states like Michigan, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania—along with Maine’s second congressional district—in play, that makes Virginia must-win for Clinton. She can’t afford to lose it, but Trump can—as without Virginia, Trump has a number of different pathways to the White House while Clinton does not have a path without it.
In the final week plus of the race, the map has significantly expanded for Trump as the billionaire businessman has become competitive in many of these places. It’s unclear which, if any, he may break out in for a win, but the fact he’s surging everywhere across the board has got to have the Clinton campaign worried. But Trump has been campaigning in New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Michigan over the past couple days.