U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is vowing to finish the last weeks of his run for the White House on his own terms, undeterred by party leaders fleeing his campaign after the widespread airing of a 2005 tape with Trump making crude comments about women and boasting of his sexual exploits.
Trump, the brash real estate tycoon seeking his first elected office, told Fox News Tuesday he was "just tired of non-support" from Republican leaders. Both House Speaker Paul Ryan and the party's 2008 presidential candidate, Arizona Senator John McCain, among others, have abandoned Trump in recent days, with Ryan all but conceding that Trump will lose the November 8 election to Democrat Hillary Clinton.
"I wouldn't want to be in a foxhole with a lot of these people," Trump said.
Slumping poll numbers
With Trump's poll numbers slumping, his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway told an interviewer Wednesday, "We want the support of anybody who’s going to publicly endorse us. But enough of the pussyfooting around in terms of, you know, do you support us or do you not support us? The fact is that some of these leaders have been wishy-washy.”
A wave of new political surveys show Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state looking to become the country's first female president, surging to a bigger edge over Trump, with the Real Clear Politics average of polls giving her a 6.2-percentage-point national advantage.
Several political analysts looking at the Trump-Clinton race across the state-by-state contests that determine the outcome of U.S. presidential campaigns give her about a 9-in-10 chance of becoming the country's 45th chief executive.
Trump, a one-time television reality show host, has apologized for his comments on the tape, in which he bragged about groping women with impunity because he was a celebrity. At Sunday's second debate with Clinton, he described the remarks as "locker room talk." They were captured on a live microphone while he was on a bus as he headed to a cameo appearance on a television soap opera.
"If that's what it is going to take to lose an election, that will be pretty sad," Trump said.
Obama derides Trump
President Barack Obama, a staunch Clinton supporter, derided Trump's comments at a North Carolina rally.
"You don't have to be a husband or a father to say that's not right," Obama said. "You just have to be a decent human being."
Many of Trump's staunchest supporters have stuck with him, but the new polling shows that women, already favoring Clinton, have moved even more toward her. Clinton's campaign, sensing it is on the cusp of winning, is considering expanding its efforts into states that almost always vote for Republican presidential candidates, including Georgia in the southern part of the country and Arizona in the west.
The quadrennial U.S. presidential elections are not decided by the national popular vote, but rather by the contests in each state, with each state's importance weighted by its population. The winning presidential candidate must reach a majority of 270 electoral votes in the 538-member Electoral College, with the electors casting ballots based on the voting results in each of the 50 states.
Tight race in some states
Most election prediction models show Clinton at or near the 270 majority, but polling numbers show a number of states with Trump and her locked in tight battles, giving him a chance in the last four weeks of the race to regain momentum heading to Election Day.
Trump is making campaign stops in Florida on Wednesday, a battleground state where he maintains a mansion along the Atlantic Ocean that he considers his second home.
Clinton is speaking at rallies in two western states that are closely contested, mountainous Colorado and Nevada, the country's gambling mecca.