Dem pollster: Debate will mark 'a fundamental change in the election'

Democratic pollster and political analyst Doug Schoen said that the presidential debate on Monday will make a big impact on the election in November. 

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"We will see a fundamental change in the election, I believe, based on the debate,” he said in an interview with John Catsimatidis that aired Sunday.
"I think Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpOmar fires back at Trump over rally remarks: 'This is my country' Pelosi: Trump hurrying to fill SCOTUS seat so he can repeal ObamaCare Trump mocks Biden appearance, mask use ahead of first debate MORE is going to try to attack [Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonButtigieg stands in as Pence for Harris's debate practice Senate GOP sees early Supreme Court vote as political booster shot Poll: 51 percent of voters want to abolish the electoral college MORE] but also avoid getting in the mud with her to avoid a situation where he looks nonpresidential. Because in a primary you can get down and dirty. But in a general election, with 125 million people watching ... you have to sound and act a lot like a president." 

"Trump is going to have the challenge, also, of having her attack him constantly, and he has to both respond but also stay above the fray," he added. 

Schoen said that despite the narrowing of the polls, the Democratic nominee is still the likely favorite to win the election.

“I think we’re in a very close race," he said. "But if you had to say someone’s ahead, it would be Secretary Clinton."

"Bottom line: When you look at the 12 [swing] states, Hillary’s ahead in nine or 10 of them. ... As we go into the debate, she’s the clear front-runner, so it's a very close race," he said.
 
Clinton currently leads Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, nationally by an average of 3 percentage points. 
 
The first presidential debate will air at 9 p.m. Monday.