Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton can’t relax just yet

THE presidential debates are over and Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are now locked in a desperate race to win votes in the lead up to November 8.

Tired Americans are looking forward to breathing a sigh of relief come election day after one of the most bitter campaigns in recent times.

Many polls and experts are predicting a Clinton victory, but with just over two weeks until the big day anything is possible.

Clinton now leads in most major polls. According to a Bloomberg Politics national poll taken on Wednesday the Democrat nominee has a nine-point lead over her rival.

The poll was taken before Thursday’s third and final presidential debate with that lead expected to widen in coming days.

But Clinton can’t afford to rest easy, and thinking she has victory in the bag is among the biggest risks she faces in the lead up to election day, experts warn.

While Trump is still reeling from a series of sexual assault allegations and a weak final debate performance, he still has the potential to snare votes away from his rival.

ALLEGATIONS AND ANGER

It has been a tougher few weeks for Trump than it has been for Clinton.

Trump has faced a string of sexual assault allegations following the release of a 2005 video which revealed his lewd comments about women.

Since the video dropped, several women have come forward to claim Trump touched them inappropriately, allegations he has strongly denied.

New York-area woman, Karena Virginia is the most recent example.

Ms Virginia claims the Republican presidential candidate groped her in 1998 outside the US Open tennis tournament.

But that’s not Trump’s only issue.

Trump also sparked anger on both sides of the political spectrum during Thursday’s debate after he refused to confirm whether he would accept the result of the election.

The refusal was widely regarded as going against the democratic spirit of the elections.

On Friday he then “promised and pledged” to accept the results of the US election — if he wins.

“I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States, that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election — if I win,” Trump said at his rally in Delaware, Ohio.

“I will accept a clear election result, but I will also reserve my right to contest and file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result.”

But it hasn’t been all sweet and rosy for the Clinton campaign either.

Clinton has also been plagued by questions of distrust following WikiLeaks releasing a series of emails from the campaign manager of US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Trump has used the leaks of internal emails from Democrat campaign chairman John Podesta’s hacked account to attack her integrity and portray her as untrustworthy.

WHERE TO NEXT?

The good news is there are no more scheduled events, just a series of final campaign rallies.

Both candidates will continue to convince voters they have what it takes to become the 45th President of the United States.

Both also face their own risks and challenges in the race to the White House, especially for one candidate in particular.

Aaron Connelly, a research fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, said Trump remained his own worst enemy.

“Trump recognises he is going to lose and is becoming less and less disciplined,” he said.

“Trump’s biggest risk is himself, the more he talks the more Americans don’t like him.”

Mr Connelly said Trump’s refusal to say whether he would accept the election outcome and continuing to repel women voters wasn’t doing him any favours either.

Clinton faces a tough battle appeal to younger voters who still see Trump as a chance for change.

Clinton’s biggest worry remains a bombshell revelation from WikiLeaks, while another tape dropping could prove fatal for Trump’s campaign.

Professor Simon Jackman, chief executive officer of the United Studies Centre at the University of Sydney said Trump’s big risks were more of the same gaffes.

For Clinton it was the potential of making a catastrophic mistake that could change the course of the election, something her rival will be hoping desperately for.

“Trump really needs Clinton to make a major mistake between now and the election,” he said.

Prof Jackman also said Trump’s inability to control his temper was also another risk for his campaign as it played into Clinton’s narrative that he doesn’t have the temperament to be Commander in Chief.

He also agreed continuing claims of electoral fraud would not go down well with voters who held the democratic system in high regard.

“Trump has been trailing in the polls and his performance in the third debate did little to change that,” Prof Jackman said.

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