More than a year after Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump announced their presidential campaigns, and after months of bitter primaries that took unexpected turns in both parties, the sprint to November has started.
Trump “wants to divide us from the rest of the world, and from each other,” Clinton warned in her acceptance address Thursday night, receiving tumultuous cheers from most in the hall but jeers from a few dozen supporters of her primary rival, Bernie Sanders. “We have to decide whether we all will work together so we all can rise together.”
In the wake of back-to-back political conventions, here are three things we’ve learned about the political landscape that Clinton and Trump will be running on in the most unpredictable election in a generation.
1. It’s this/close
In national polls, it’s a tie — at least for now.
That may be a bit misleading, since Trump got a bounce from the Republican convention last week while any bounce from the Democratic convention, which ended Thursday night with Clinton’s speech and a display of fireworks at the Walls Fargo Center here, hasn’t had a chance to be measured.
That said, the most recent nationwide polls averaged by RealClearPolitics.com put Trump at 45.6%, Clinton at 44.7%, a difference of less than a single percentage point. In the nation’s two quintessential swing states, the contest is even closer. In Florida: Trump 43.8%-Clinton 43.5%. In Ohio: Trump 41.8%-Clinton 42.6%.
Senior Democrats are expressing the same bewilderment that Trump’s Republican rivals did during the primaries over the billionaire businessman’s ability to build support without a classic campaign infrastructure and despite provocative statements and misstatements that would undermine a conventional candidate. His comments at a news conference Wednesday urging Russia to spy on Clinton’s emails are the latest example; on Thursday, he said he was being sarcastic.
Some can’t quite believe the race is so competitive.
“Donald Trump’s getting 15% of the Latino vote … and in the two Quinnipiac polls, he got zero African-American votes in Pennsylvania and Ohio,” Ed Rendell, a former Pennsylvania governor and Democratic national chairman, said Thursday at a breakfast with reporters hosted by Bloomberg Politics. “He’s getting clobbered among women. He’s losing college-age white men by 10 points. And somebody please tell me how he’s even or in the margin of error.”
Source: USA Today | Susan Page