Donald Trump is toast according to probably 90% of pundits and 99% of media talking heads. He's not. He might be close, but then again, maybe not. Against the constant barrage of media onslaught, questionable but clearly trending polls comes this from esteemed analyst Sean Trende;
If you look at the RCP Average, Clinton hasn’t so much surged as Trump has lost support since the beginning of the month, which suggests those voters are still gettable for him.That is because the fundamentals of this race indicate it will be close. The second-term president with middling approval ratings, the modest growth, and the historic unfavorability of the two candidates continually exert gravity on the contest downward to a tie. When Trump is “best behavior” Trump, the race is competitive. When he isn’t, Clinton pulls to a lead. If Trump were to be “best behavior” Trump for the remaining four weeks and conduct himself in the third debate as he did in the second, he might close the gap again. Indeed, the NBC/WSJ poll released over the weekend actually suggests Trump made up some ground in the aftermath of the debate.
But don't get too excited too fast, Trende says it's possible, but goes on to say it's not probable;
I don’t think that will happen. For one thing, Trump feels “unshackled” (whatever that means), suggesting that he doesn’t want to be “best behavior” Trump.More importantly, though, I don’t think Clinton and the Democrats will let him...
Fair points. Indeed I've started to wonder whether Trump can sustain an impressive run for longer than 10 days. He's reflexive in his responses and Democrats know it. Those reflexes don't always serve him well. He's like a bull distracted by a red cape at times. And I agree with Trende, Trump will need to string together about 25 days of great behavior, not just 10. That's a longshot bet for those of us hoping Trump can win and bust up the intransigence of Washington D.C. power.
But Trump has surprised multiple times in the past and he is capable of doing it again. And polling data has become an instrument to shape public opinion as opposed to reflecting it. They'll have to come back to earth for the sake of their own integrity over the last week or two. If there is a deliberate bias now, it will change then. If there isn't this will be a Clinton blowout.