As presidential polls tighten in the Silver State and across the country, the Hillary Clinton campaign is stepping up efforts to recapture voters with multiple events over the next few days. In what the campaign has dubbed “Glass Breakers Week,” feminist icon Gloria Steinem, figure skater Michelle Kwan and former Nevada Lt. Gov. Sue Wagner will all be visiting the Biggest Little City. Add to this another planned visit by VP hopeful Tim Kaine and you get the first concerted effort by either campaign to court Nevada voters since the caucus in February.
These visits come at a crucial time for a Clinton campaign that’s been slipping in national and state polls after a series of gaffes for the former secretary of state — first, after a media firestorm following her “basket of deplorables” comment, and again after a stumble during a 9/11 memorial service and subsequent diagnosis with pneumonia.
According to Michelle White, Hillary for Nevada deputy state director, the move comes because time before Election Day is quickly running out.
“With fewer than 50 days to go before Election Day and just weeks until early vote begins, we are in the final sprint to the finish line in the presidential race,” White said.
Throughout the past year, Clinton has continuously polled higher than Republican nominee Donald Trump, soaring to a peak lead of nearly eight points following the Democratic National Convention in July. Since then, it’s all been downhill for the Democrat as the race grows tighter every passing day. As of Monday, Sept. 19, Clinton’s lead is just below one point, according to the Real Clear Politics polling average.
In Nevada, the race is even closer. A Monmouth poll from Tuesday, Sept. 13, puts Trump up two points in the state, while an NBC/WSJ/Marist poll from five days earlier has Trump up one. These polls are within the margin of error, but so were two polls from August that had Clinton up by two. All in all, the Silver State is proving too close to call.
By and large though, Clinton’s 2016 bid for the presidency hasn’t seen the warmest reception in the Battle Born State. When she entered the race in mid-2015, Nevada was firmly in the Clinton column, but as summer turned to fall and fall turned to winter, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders only gained more and more electoral steam.
Cut to February and the Democratic race had tightened to its closest point in the entire primary season, as Clinton and Sanders traded wins in Iowa and New Hampshire. This Sanders momentum blunted Clinton’s expectations in Nevada — the third-in-the-nation caucus — and forced the Clinton camp to downplay possible results in the week before the caucus got underway.
These fears may have been misplaced, however, as Clinton won a majority in Nevada with a little over 52 percent of the vote. While Sanders would remain close to Clinton throughout the primary season, he was never within striking distance of taking the nomination for himself.
Even so, Clinton has been dogged by a number of negative headlines, ranging from her use of a private email server during her time at the state department to allegations she gave an audience to high-profile donors to the Clinton Foundation. These swirling allegations have compounded her already poor favorable numbers and have put into question a Clinton presidency that looked almost certain just a few months ago.
Jacob Solis canbe reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.