In the final sprint of the general election season, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is acknowledging that it’s playing catch-up to Hillary Clinton, just as a new national poll shows the Republican nominee trailing his opponent by double digits.
When asked on NBC News how she saw the state of the race, Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, replied that “We are behind.”
“She has some advantages, like $66 million in ad buys just in the month of September, thereby doubling her ad buys from August,” Conway pointed out. “Now, most of those ads are negative against Donald Trump, classic politics, personal destruction...kind of ads. And that she has tremendous advantages.”
During the run-up to the Nov. 8 election, however, Trump has also increased his television advertising budget. In the third week of October, Trump’s campaign surpassed Clinton for the first time in TV ad buys, spending $14 million on advertising campaigns, versus Clinton’s $10 million.
Conway’s admission comes just as a new poll from ABC News shows Clinton with a double-digit advantage nationally, with Trump taking knocks from the recent reports of his treatment of women and his claims of voter fraud and a “rigged” election.
The survey found that Clinton leads Trump 50 percent to 38 percent among likely voters -- a drastic uptick from the last ABC News/Washington Post poll, when Clinton was just four points ahead.
The poll also found that 69 percent of likely voters disapprove of how Trump handled questions about his treatment of women, compared to 24 percent that don’t. The survey showed that some of the women who were willing to give the nominee the benefit of the doubt regarding his behavior changed their mind after nearly a dozen women have come out alleging they were victims of Trump’s unwanted sexual advances.
As for Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of rampant voter fraud, nearly six in ten likely voters reject the notion of a fixed election. Sixty-five percent also dislike how he has so far refused to say whether he would accept a Clinton win.
Trump is also facing a tough fight in key battleground states, including Florida, according to the latest CBS News poll. Clinton has a three-point edge over Trump in the Sunshine State, 46 to 43 percent. But in the recently surveyed battleground of Texas, traditionally a solid red state, Trump leads Clinton by the same margin, 46 to 43 percent.
Across Texas and Florida, more than eight in ten Republicans believe that voter fraud is widespread, according to the CBS News survey.
ABC News’ poll surveyed 874 likely voters from Oct. 20-22. The margin of error is 3.5 points.