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US Democrat Clinton opens up lead over Trump, in latest polls

Hillary Clinton has leads of 5 and 9 percent over her Republican rival Donald Trump in opinion polls. Her campaign has launched a multimillion dollar ad campaign attacking Trump.

Two new opinion polls show Hillary Clinton widening her lead over Donald Trump in the race for the US presidency.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll showed Clinton opening up a gaping 12-point lead, while a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll gave Clinton a more modest but still discernible 5-point advantage.

Just

a month ago the two White House contenders were virtually tied.'

But by just about any measure Trump, the Republican candidate, had an especially bad month.

The polls come after the worst gun attack on civilians in American history, in which 49 people were shot dead and scores more wounded at a gay nightclub in Florida.

Trump attributed the attack to radical Islamic terrorists,

and renewed his call for banning all Muslims from entering the United States.

Separately, he assailed a federal judge who is presiding over a fraud case involving the defunct Trump University. The NY billionaire accused the judge of bias because of his Mexican ancestry.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures with both hands during a speech at the Treasure Island hotel and casino in Las Vegas.

Trump at Treasure Island hotel and casino in Las Vegas

He also fired his combative campaign manager,

and shocked his Republican supporters by ending the month of May with reportedly little more than $1 million (909,000 euros) in his election campaign coffers.

Clinton in gear

All the while,

Clinton set about unleashing a multimillion dollar advertising campaign

across eight battleground states, explaining why Trump is "temperamentally unfit" to be president. Despite the spending, she reportedly finished with $42 million in her campaign war chest.

Clinton, the Democrat, also gained the support of two prominent Republicans. Brent Scowcroft, the highly regarded national security advisor to both President George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford, announced the he would be voting for Clinton.

Watch video 03:40

"Clinton is much more moderate"

Likewise, George W. Bush's former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has given his unequivocal support to Clinton.

Although

Clinton's rival for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders, has yet to officially drop out of the race

and endorse her, the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed 78 percent of his primary supporters backed her.

The race, however, narrowed dramatically, with Clinton clinging to a 1-point lead, when third and fourth party candidates - including the Green and Libertarian parties - were added to the polling questions. These are marginal parties with very limited financial resources.

The Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted Monday through Thursday of last week among 836 registered voters and had a margin of error of four percentage points.

The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll of 1,000 registered voters was conducted Sunday through Thursday of last week and had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

bik/jm (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

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