Labor Day signals the end of Summer, but during a presidential election, it also serves as the kickoff for the fall general election campaign. Both Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican standard-bearer Donald Trump hit the ground running this week with multiple campaign events, including back-to-back presidential forums. Meanwhile, third party challengers are looking to win over the large number of voters who appear unhappy with both major party nominees.
- Dan Bush - Digital Politics Editor at PBS Newshour (@danielbush). See his article: The hidden sexism that could sway the election.
- Chris Galdieri - Assistant Professor, Department of Politics, Saint Anselm College (@chrisgaldieri).
- Cate Martel - Political Reporter for The Hill, where she writes the 12:30 Report (@catemartel).
Dan Bush points out that the difference between the margin of victory in the last several elections is small, and that often, the decision comes down to a few battleground states.
If you start looking at those important states that decided the last several elections, your Ohios and your Floridas, and Pennsylvania and so on, you see Clinton with a small but consistent lead in all of those states. And although Trump has been up recently by as much as one point in Florida and other states, if Clinton can hold on to those key states even if her lead is narrowing nationally, she is still in the driver's seat in the national election.
As for New Hampshire, Chris Galdieri notes:
We are still a swing state, we are one of the two places in New England where the Trump campaign seems to think they have chance of winning the electoral vote, the other being the 2nd congressional district in Maine...Having said that, you have to go back quite a ways to find a poll in the state that shows Trump leading Clinton. The Clinton campaign has been flooding the state with organizers and they have something like a dozen offices and are opening more this week. Democrats are very interested in our senate race...and the Trump campaign is not responding in kind.
Trump's "ground game" continues to struggle during the general election, as he relies on free media and name recognition rather than establishing a network of field offices. In an investigation for PBS Newshour with Lisa Desjardins, Dan Bush found that in swing states, Clinton has more than three times the number of campaign offices than Trump.
Cate Martel notes that one of the key ways Clinton differentiates herself from Trump is with her foreign policy experience, which may both help and hinder her campaign as Trump continues to attack Clinton's role as Secretary of State during the Obama administration.
It is a strong argument for Donald Trump to make, to say look at her record, look at President Obama's record, you can tie them together. That is what he's running on.
Martel also comments on the changing values of the voting population during this election:
We are at a point where parties are completely shifting, and especially on foreign policy...Donald Trump's foreign policy has been a little wishy-washy, and a lot of Republicans are voting for Hillary Clinton...We are starting to see people voting a little bit more with their guts and a little less with their party lines.