MYRLTE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – With two weeks left in Decision 2016, WMBF News political expert Holley Tankersley discussed what is in store for the next 14 days.
"This is almost like the calm before the storm," said Tankersley, a professor with Coastal Carolina University. "We kind of had a fast paced, eventful debate cycle where we had those three debates, a lot of stuff going on before them. And now things are a little quieter and I think that's for a couple of reasons."
One reason for that is the two candidates are getting a better idea of where they need to be, initiating what Tankersley calls their ground game.
"One of the ways we can kind of figure out how they are feeling is to see where they are campaigning," she said. "For example, we see Hillary Clinton putting some resources and sending some surrogates into some states that wouldn't typically be campaign grounds for Democratic candidates. And you are seeing Mr. Trump surrogates in places where he feels he needs to shore up his base."
Tankersley said the candidates may also be switching gears to down ballot races because it could help with a presidency.
"To have a Congress of the same party, that may help them (with) passage of legislation to minimize the need for negotiation or bargaining and be able to get an agenda on the table every quickly," she said. "That's harder to do when you have an opposition Congress that's controlled by the other party because there is going to have to be more negotiation in those cases."
However, both candidates have their own issues to face this week. Starting with Clinton, Tankersley said she will need to face the latest with Obamacare.
"She's going to have to be careful though because there is some dissatisfaction with news that's come out about Obamacare rates," Tankersley said. "She's going to have to really be able to discuss her plan to fix Obamacare or the healthcare system in general. So that could be a dangerous issue to talk about right now especially because she's trying to talk policy details."
As for Donald Trump, he will again be on the defensive regarding some of his comments, including whether or not he would concede the election if he were to lose and calling the election and polls rigged.
"I think he's really off message there in a way that's not helpful," Tankersley said. "That doesn't turn voters on. That doesn't excite voters and, in fact, in some cases it could backfire. Because if voters think it's rigged - my vote doesn't count - they may not in fact vote, particularly if they are not likely voters to begin with."
On top of that, she said the map is starting to show the race each candidate still has in front of them, hitting on the line ahead for Trump.
"Right now, the way that the map looks and the way that we kind of count toss-up states versus states that we are pretty certain about, he's going to have to win several toss-up states that voted for Barack Obama in 2012," Tankersley said. "So that's a tall order. He's really going to have to lay it on in the last couple of weeks here."
Tankersley added that up to 15 percent of voters are still undecided. It is a number she said is high considering the average for the last two weeks of the race is about 5 percent.