As Labor Day neared, the decisions the two major party presidential candidates made on how to spend their time said everything about how they’ve approached the race. August found Hillary Clinton in the Hamptons, where she attended at least a dozen high-dollar fundraisers, according to people who spent time with her there.
Donald Trump, meanwhile, jetted down to Mexico and softened his tone on immigration, hardened it right back up again at a rally in Arizona and launched an international Twitter war with the Mexican president he had just met.
Clinton can afford to spend her time fundraising rather than holding rallies. With just over two months until Election Day, she holds a solid lead over Trump in the polls, although the spread has been tightening as Clinton’s post-convention bounce wears off and Trump gains a little strength.
An utter landslide for Clinton looked more likely immediately after the conventions, when she regularly saw double-digit leads in national polls. HuffPost Pollster’s model, which aggregates publicly available polling, currently gives her a lead of about 5 points in a head-to-head race nationally, down from more than 8 points at the height of her post-DNC bounce. Clinton also has a 5-point lead on average when third party candidates are included in the poll questions
A 5-point lead leaves room for Trump to catch up, but it’s still considerably wider than the edge President Barack Obama enjoyed over Mitt Romney at this point during the 2012 cycle. And Clinton’s lead has been remarkably consistent: Not a single poll included in HuffPost’s average has had Trump ahead since late July. Historical precedent suggests that bodes well for her. In each of the past 16 elections, the candidate leading after the conventions has gone on to win.
State polling tells a similar story. Clinton is leading Trump by a significant margin in many battleground states, with leads of between 6 and 9 points in Colorado, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.