The last couple of weeks were stressful for Clinton supporters. It was hard to find a Democrat who didn’t feel somewhere between concerned and outright panicked.
First, the media and Republicans seized on Clinton’s comment that half of Donald Trump’s supporters fall into a “basket of deplorables.” Some said her moment of candor was worse than Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” gaffe from 2012, although the math doesn’t quite add up.
It got worse when, despite doctor’s orders, the Democratic nominee campaigned through pneumonia, which led to a not-so-pleasant moment after she was forced to leave a Sept. 11 memorial event in New York.
The pundit class quickly claimed that the race had fundamentally shifted. National and swing-state polling showed Trump gaining. Democrats worried that the race was slipping away from their nominee.
Now, with just five days until Clinton and Trump meet in the first presidential debate, Clinton has stolen back the momentum.
A key Pennsylvania poll out over the weekend has Clinton ahead there by eight points in a four-person race.
In Florida, two surveys released on Tuesday showed the Democratic nominee beating Trump by five points. Another on Monday shows her ahead by a single point in the Sunshine State.
Nationally, as Jason Easley wrote earlier, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll has Clinton out in front by six points among likely voters – not a total blowout, but a pretty comfortable lead.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t any good polls for Trump – there are, like the new Fox News polls showing him with small leads in Nevada, Ohio, and North Carolina.
It will not be – and never was going to be – a cakewalk for Hillary Clinton. At the moment, she leads nationally and in enough states to give her 270 electoral votes, albeit by margins that are often slim. But it’s still clear that the race hasn’t changed all that much, despite cable news punditry and left-leaning bed-wetters.
As has been the case throughout most of this campaign, she is still ahead.
After weeks of Democratic panic attacks and a handful of concerning poll numbers, Clinton has recovered. She has the momentum as we approach the most important event of the campaign.
The debate will give her an opportunity to seize it for good.