Presidential debates don’t matter much except when they do. Back in 1976 on October 6, Ford, in his second debate with Carter, denied that Poland was dominated by the Soviet Union. He was too proud and stupid to simply admit intially he had misspoke. This stalled his rise in the polls with Carter, and he went on to lose a close one.
In 1980 the one and only debate between Carter and Reagan occurred on October 28, 1980, six days before the election. Reagan clobbered Carter and Carter had no time to recover before election day.
So where is the current race just prior to the debate? The Washington Post ABC poll released last night shows a dead heat. Go here to read about it. Likewise the Morning Consult poll released yesterday. Go here to read about it. The Los Angeles Times Tracking poll shows Trump with a four point advantage. Go here to look at it. Battleground polls have been trending over the past few weeks in Trump’s direction. A Pennsylvania Poll by Morning Call Muhlenberg College yesterday for example shows Trump slashing into Clinton’s lead in Pennsylvania with Clinton having only a two point lead in a four way race. Go here to read about it. If Trump takes Pennsylvania, Clinton’s path to victory becomes very, very difficult. Right now Trump is ahead in all the states taken by Romney, and leads in Ohio, Florida, Iowa and Nevada. Trump is tied with Clinton in Maine and close to tied in Colorado. A shocking poll last week showed him only six points down in Illinois. If that poll is accurate, and I have my doubts about it, Clinton is in deep trouble around the nation.
Almost all professional political prognosticators thought that Trump was going to be a landslide loser. The Democrats were gleeful at facing Trump. As we go into the debate that glee has vanished. Clinton now needs a commanding win in the debate to change the pattern of the race which seems to be Trump on the ascent.