Hillary Clinton’s confidence could cost her the US presidency, according to an American political scientist who claims Donald Trump is on course to win the US election in 11 days.
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 released yesterday.
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 The 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.”
The problem all along 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, said: “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.”
With a steady lead in the race for weeks, Mrs Clinton’s campaign is concerned that her advantage could prompt some of her backers to stay home on Election Day or cast protest votes for a third-party candidate.
A new Associated Press-GfK poll released on Wednesday found Mrs Clinton on the cusp of a potentially commanding victory, fuelled by solid Democratic turnout in early voting, massive operational advantages and increasing enthusiasm among her supporters.
The survey shows her leading Mr Trump nationally by a staggering 14 percentage points among likely voters, 51-37. That margin is the largest national lead for Mrs Clinton among recent surveys. But other polls generally have shown her ahead of Trump for the past several weeks.
Last night, Mr Trump highlighted newly released emails from the Clinton campaign chairman’s personal account showing Doug Band, a former Bill Clinton aide, describing overlapping relationships between the Clinton Foundation and the family’s private gains.
“Mr Band called the arrangement ‘unorthodox’. The rest of us call it outright corrupt,” said Mr Trump at the first of three campaign rallies in Ohio.
“If the Clintons were willing to play this fast and loose with their enterprise when they weren’t in the White House, just imagine what they’ll do in the Oval Office.”
Mr Band wrote the 2011 memo to defend his firm, Teneo, describing how he encouraged his clients to contribute to the foundation and get consulting and speaking gigs for Bill Clinton.
Some of his work included obtaining “in-kind services for the president and his family - for personal travel, hospitality, vacation and the like”.
Meanwhile, Michelle Obama joined Hillary Clinton at a campaign rally to lend support to the presidential nominee in the closing stages of the race for the White House.
Mrs Obama boosted Mrs Clinton at a North Carolina rally as the candidate cheered her on.