Just three to four weeks ago after the Democratic convention, Hillary’s post-convention bounce had many Democrats and media liberals convinced there was no way she could lose.
Since then, Trump has all but erased Hillary’s lead and is now polling well enough to say this is once again a competitive election.
Trump cuts into Clinton’s lead as crucial stretch begins
At the center of senior Clinton aides’ pre-debate concern is the belief that Trump’s past few days demonstrate how low the bar is for his performance to be called a success. If simply standing next to the Mexican president is perceived as a win for Trump’s image, they complain, appearing across from Clinton will likely further elevate his standing. Indeed, Clinton’s inner circle is eager to tamp down any sign of confidence, no matter her current lead or the Electoral College map.
Trump’s inner circle agrees the stakes are high — internally acknowledging that Clinton is on track to win the White House unless the response to his debate performance is titanic. But the Republican and his allies are entering September with renewed confidence, buoyed by a narrowing in national polling, even if he remains behind in swing-state surveys. The RealClearPolitics national polling average, for example, has him down just 4.1 percentage points, a nearly halved margin from Clinton’s post-convention peak of 7.9 points in early August. The “Let Trump be Trump” faction of his rollicking campaign has claimed dominance in his debate-focused strategy sessions, while his operatives in Manhattan and suburban Washington puzzle through how to run a base-turnout election that gives him a realistic shot at 270 electoral votes.
Politico suggests that much is riding on the first debate on September 26th and they are correct.
That event will likely be one of the most watched presidential debates ever.