The professional punditry, Democrats, and NeverTrumpers alike pounced at the opportunity to write Donald Trump off after he fell behind Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the post-convention polls — but new polls this week suggest the race is turning into a fresh, competitive phase.
In a newly released national poll from the LA Times/USC, Trump is only one point behind Clinton — well within the poll’s margin of error. In a separate online poll from Zogby, Trump is within two points of Clinton.
“Nothing is unfixable or insurmountable until you tell me how that debate’s going to go.”
Clinton still maintains sizable leads in many critical battleground states, but the election is still more than 80 days away, and a rapid tightening of the race on the national scene could indicate Trump is picking up much-needed momentum.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Trump surrogate, pointed to the importance of the first general election debate, scheduled for Sept. 26, as a potential game-changer in the contest. Christie anticipates it will be the “most-watched” and likely “most important” point in the race.
“Nothing is unfixable or insurmountable until you tell me how that debate’s going to go,” Christie told Asbury Park Press Tuesday.
“There’s going to be so much attention to it that it can completely transform a race overnight,” he said. “So I won’t be concerned — if I ever am concerned — about Donald’s campaign until after that. I’m confident that this will be a competitive race.”
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Trump still faces a steep climb, but has clawed back from predictions of certain doom before.
Christie noted that former presidential candidates who fell behind in the polls early on were sometimes able to make a comeback strong enough to win the presidency.
“Christie pointed to the 1988 presidential election as one reason for his optimism, recalling Democrat Michael Dukakis having a 17-point lead coming out of his party’s convention in late July, only to see it wiped away in the months ahead and ultimately losing the White House to Republican George H.W. Bush,” according to APP.