Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine said on Saturday that Hillary Clinton is the “underdog” heading into Election Day on Tuesday, and that his ticket’s recent dip in the polls is linked to undecided voters “returning home” to their respective political parties.
As polls continue to suggest a tightening in the 2016 race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the Virginia senator says he expected such a narrowing to occur as the campaign neared November 8. In an exclusive interview with AOL.com News, Kaine said he views the race’s current trajectory as “natural.” “We were seeing evidence of tightening about ten to twelve days ago and I think that’s kind of natural.”
“It’s sort of finishing where I thought it would be—close. I like where we are. I wouldn’t trade our spot for the other side’s spot,” Kaine continued.
Clinton reached nearly a nine-percentage point lead nationally in mid October, according the Real Clear Politics’ nation wide polling average. But with just days to go before the country takes to the polls, Trump has surged back to well within the margin of error at 44.9 percent nationally—trailing Clinton’s 46.6 percent by only 1.7 percentage points.
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One of the reasons Kaine sees no call for alarm around his ticket’s dip in numbers has to do with what he sees as the natural tendency for undecided voters to ultimately return to their “normal place,” ideologically. “Undecided voters tend to kind of go home.
“You might have people undecided but they lean Republican or they lean Democratic—they tend to go back to their normal place and I think that’s happened.”
While undecided voters are often coveted and targeted throughout an election cycle, according to SurveyMonkey’s nationwide Election Tracking, the actual percentage of undecided voters left in the United States may in fact be quite low, with just 2 percent of Americans stating they are still unsure if they will vote for Trump, Clinton or a third party candidate.
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Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally at Reverend Samuel Delevoe Memorial Park on February 1, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by mpi04/MediaPunch/IPX via Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton campaigns for President of the United States at University of Pennsylvania on October 22, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Taylor Hill/WireImage)
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton listens to a question at a campaign event in Madison, Wisconsin, United States, March 28, 2016. (Photo via REUTERS/Jim Young)
Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally at Wayne State University on October 10, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. A day after the second presidential debate in St. Louis, Hillary Clinton is campaigning in Michigan and Ohio. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (C) speaks next to Virginia first lady Dorothy McCauliffe (L) and James Barnett (R) at a discussion on national security during a campaign event at the Virginia Air and Space Center in Hampton, Virginia, U.S., June 15, 2016. (Photo via REUTERS/Gary Cameron)
Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally at Alumni Hall Courtyard, Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire U.S., October 24, 2016. (Photo via REUTERS/Carlos Barria)
U.S. Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the American Federation of Teachers conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 18, 2016. (Photo via REUTERS/Adam Bettcher)
With polls tightening and negative headlines piling up in the last few days of the 2016 election, Kaine remembers encouraging Clinton back in 2014 to run for president, telling the then-rumored presidential hopeful to consider herself the “underdog” if she were to run for one specific reason.
“I don’t care what a poll says, and I don’t care what an editorial says—you are the underdog cause you’re trying to make history,” said Kaine.
“You got a headwind blowing in your face if you’re trying to make history.”
BY: WILLIAM STEAKIN, reporting by MORGAN WHITAKER