Tensions fray in both parties ahead of NY primary

2016-04-12 19:03
A woman shows off her signed campaign poster after a Hillary Clinton r ally in Marshalltown. (Andrew Harnik, AP)

A woman shows off her signed campaign poster after a Hillary Clinton r ally in Marshalltown. (Andrew Harnik, AP)

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New York - Tensions frayed in both the Democratic and Republican presidential races on Monday, as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump tried to stave off the prospect of a lengthy battle for the nomination with big victories in New York.

While Clinton escalated her attacks against rival Bernie Sanders, Republican front-runner Donald Trump complained about a "rigged" nomination process.

Trump's complaints follow his struggles in recent primary contests in Utah, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Colorado.

Both Trump and Clinton are pushing for big wins in next week's New York primary, hoping to create a sense of inevitably around their candidacies with sizable delegate gains.

Trump has seized upon his delegate woes in recent days as evidence that "the fix" was in. He angrily denounced the allocation of all of Colorado's delegates to Senator Ted Cruz as "dirty and disgusting" during a Monday night rally in Albany, New York.

Trump said a similar game was playing out on the Democratic side, where "Bernie Sanders wins and wins and wins" but yet "can't win the race".

According to a new Associated Press-GFK poll, Sanders leads the field in terms of likeability with 48% of Americans saying they have a favourable opinion of Sanders while 39% say they have an unfavourable opinion.

Unlike the other candidates, Sanders also is doing better as more Americans get to know him: His favourable rating is up from an earlier AP-GfK poll.

But the growing popularity may be coming too late for Sanders, who lags behind Clinton, with time running out in the primary campaign.

After winning the Democratic caucuses in Wyoming on Saturday, Sanders has now won seven of the past eight state contests. Still, to win the Democratic nomination, he must take 68% of the remaining delegates and uncommitted superdelegates, which would require a sudden burst of blowout victories.

Disappointed

Meanwhile at least half of Americans say they would be disappointed or even angry if either Trump or Clinton are nominated, the survey shows.

Among all registered voters, 63% say they wouldn't consider voting for Trump and half say the same about Clinton.

Only 40% of Americans said they have a favourable opinion of Clinton with 55% having an unfavourable opinion. A whopping 69% of Americans say they view Trump unfavourably while only 29% view him favourably, according to the poll.

Trump's complaints call into question the integrity of the voting process at a time when the party could be working to unify behind its front-runner.

Trump's accusations come as he seeks to outmanoeuvre Cruz in local state gatherings where the delegates who will attend the summer convention are being chosen. In state after state, Cruz's campaign has implemented a more strategic approach to picking up delegates, which, despite Trump's current lead, are essential if he wants to reach the 1 237 delegates needed to win the nomination.

Cruz is pinning his hopes on a contested convention with no candidate having enough delegates to win on the first ballot. On subsequent ballots, many of the pledged delegates will become free to vote for any candidate.

On the Democratic side, the April 19 primary in New York has become a make-or-break moment for both the Clinton and Sanders campaigns.

Read more on:    bernie sanders  |  donald trump  |  hillary clinton  |  us  |  us 2016 elections

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