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Polls show the gap between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has narrowed in the final days heading into the U.S. election. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Polls show the gap between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has narrowed in the final days heading into the U.S. election.

(Mike Segar/Reuters)

Politics Briefing

Trump seen as ‘more honest’ in new poll as U.S. election gets close Add to ...

POLITICS BRIEFING

By Chris Hannay (@channay) and Rob Gilroy (@rgilroy)

The Globe Politics is pleased to include a roundup of news and opinion on U.S. politics, through until this year’s election in November. As always, let us know what you think of the newsletter. Sign up here to get it by e-mail each morning.

U.S. ELECTION 2016

> Getting down to the wire: Polls show the gap between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump has grown smaller in the past few days. The FiveThirtyEight forecast, based on an aggregate of polls, has Ms. Clinton’s chance of victory at about 70 per cent, down from a high of nearly 90 per cent around the time of the third debate. A new ABC/Washington Post poll has the two candidates within the survey’s margin of error, and respondents described Mr. Trump as the “more honest” candidate.

> Trump stares at the ‘Blue Wall’: The Globe’s John Ibbitson writes that the polls are indeed tightening, but that worried Democrats should spend more time looking closer at the Electoral College map. There, he writes, you can see the ‘Blue Wall’ that should propel Ms. Clinton to the Oval Office.  “More surprises could yet be in store. But however jittery Democratic supporters may be right now, the electoral evidence still strongly favours a president Clinton.”

> Comey’s X factor: The Globe’s Joanna Slater profiles James Comey, who potentially altered the direction of the U.S. presidential race last Friday with his bombshell letter to Congress saying he was reviewing new e-mails linked to Ms. Clinton. “As director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, he is now at the centre of a firestorm unlike any other in his long career.”

> Dark days at the FBI: The New York Times, meanwhile, goes deeper into the FBI and the e-mail probe. “The mood at the F.B.I. is dark, and nobody is willing to predict what the coming days will bring, particularly if agents and analysts do not complete their review of Ms. Abedin’s e-mails by Election Day.”

> Kooks ‘R Us: Jonathan Chait says win or lose on Nov. 8, the Republican Party can look forward to a long struggle to rid the party of its ‘kook’ wing. “All of Trump’s personal and ideological tics can be connected to decades-long trends within the Republican Party toward anti-intellectualism, white racial paranoia, and authoritarianism.”

> Donald Trump, conspiracy theorist: Mother Jones reminds readers that the “paranoid style in American politics” is not a new trend, and explains how Donald Trump has taken it to new heights. “That Trump would devote much of the substance of his campaign to wild claims and ominous innuendo is not surprising: This is what first made him a conservative star.”

> Trump’s blue-state strategy: The Washington Post’s Robert Costa reports on Donald Trump’s late push into Wisconsin in a last-ditch attempt to turn the likely blue state into Republican red. “Trump’s push is reminiscent of how previous Republican nominees have tried with little success in past frenzied final weeks to score blue state upsets when other battlegrounds started to look less likely to go their way.”

> The sleaze sweepstakes: George F. Will looks back at the baggage of Ms. Clinton’s political careers and sums up the choice voters will make next Tuesday: “Restore the House of Clinton. Or confer executive powers – powers that President Obama by his audacity, and Congress by its lethargy, have proved to be essentially unlimited – on another competitor in the sleaze sweepstakes, Donald Trump, who shares his opponent’s disinclination to disentangle the personal and the political.”

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW IN OTTAWA

> A major source of discussion in the House today will be the Liberals’ fall economic statement. Finance Minister Bill Morneau says deficits will increase modestly. The Liberals are planning more infrastructure spending through the 2020s and will create a new infrastructure bank next year. The fiscal update also contained pledges to open up the budgeting process, which includes making the House’s internal board less secretive and giving more independence to the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

> Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is going to Mali and Senegal as the government decides where to send its peacekeepers.

> La Presse has the scoop on the six new senators coming from Quebec (story is in French).

> Lobbying commissioner Karen Shepherd says she’s preparing to leave her job after eight years.

> Two Ontario Liberals – including their campaign manager – have been charged with bribery.

> And how Alberta schools are trying to make LGBT students feel more welcome. “That was one of the first times I’ve been proud to be gay, because in that moment, I’m like: ‘This is a normal thing. I don’t have to hide this. Maybe I’m not a freak or some weirdo. Maybe this is a good thing,’ ” said one student.

WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Campbell Clark (Globe and Mail): “That’s the political problem Finance Minister Bill Morneau faces. On Tuesday, Mr. Morneau emphasized that his fall update was presenting a long-term plan. But as much as it’s good for governments to plan ahead, this was the political equivalent of asking for patience from voters facing a softening job market and years of lacklustre economic growth.” (for subscribers)

David Parkinson (Globe and Mail): “It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a federal government willing to fly without a safety net of a contingency built into its budget figures. If the government had said it felt it no longer needed the contingency in the current fiscal year, which is more than half over, that would be one thing; but the contingency has been removed for the next several years to come – for which, obviously, the economic outlook is increasingly uncertain, and for which budgeting prudence would generally be considered appropriate.”

Kevin Page (Globe and Mail): “Are bureaucrats concerned about losing the flexibility to move money around that would help minimize lapsed authorities? Shame. That is a financial-control issue that belongs with Parliament.”

Sean Speer (Globe and Mail): “Most worryingly, the government is basically silent on how or when its budgetary deficit will be eliminated. We’re expected to believe that new infrastructure spending will somehow spur the economy and close the gap between revenues and outlays with little or no action on the part of the government. It’s a matter of rolling the dice.”

Lawrence Martin (Globe and Mail): “The world has been lining up against free trade. Trade volumes are actually declining as anti-globalization trends set in, as protectionists on the left and right trigger populist passions. But with our two big parties on the same page, that kind of craving got little mileage here. The trade pact, which still faces serious ratification hurdles, bucked the global trend. To a degree we’re bucking it as well on immigration and refugee outreach where the two parties also tend to find common ground.”

Christie Blatchford (National Post): “Consider, for instance, the newest six senators, whose appointments were duly greeted with the usual approving descriptor that they represent ‘a wide variety of backgrounds.’ Really? The trusting would say that for most of them, the Senate appointment caps a distinguished career of public service; the cynic might read the appointments as but the latest in a lifetime spent, one way or another, at the public teat.”

Paul Wells (Toronto Star): “This whole thing [the Liberal infrastructure plan] is an experiment. It could fizzle. It could give birth to projects that are not well-received by the public. Or it could be a major new source of capital. If enough investor money goes into high-return projects like power grids, it could free up federal money to invest in public works that won’t interest investors but are still worth doing.”

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