...Trump's surge to the lead in several national polls plus a clear softening of his image in the media seems almost impossible to fathom, even for his most ardent supporters.
Trump's numbers in the Real Clear Politics list of all polls have surged so strongly that Hillary Clinton's overall lead in the average of all those polls is down to just 1.1 percent. But he's jumped into a six-point lead in the daily LA Times/USC poll, he's ahead by one in the Fox News poll, by two in the CNN/ORC poll, and has a two-point lead also in the Rasmussen Reports survey. Just 16 days ago, Trump was trailing in almost all those polls and was behind by a whopping 10 points in that Fox poll just over a month ago.
When it comes to battleground states, Trump has a five-point lead in two separate polls in the crucial state of Ohio, where every poll had him behind there just one month ago. New polls show him leading in Colorado and within just three points in Michigan, two states considered prohibitively safe for Clinton just two weeks ago.
When Trump's campaign pulled the trigger on its latest shake-up, replacing Campaign Manager Paul Manafort with the team of Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon, it looked like a "Hail Mary" move. But in the weeks since, Trump has gone more mainstream and "acceptable" with trips to visit Mexico, an appearance in flood-ravaged Louisiana, and now an economic policy speech in New York that was a great improvement on his Mitt Romney impersonation at the Detroit Economic Club earlier this summer.
And the pièce de résistance happened Thursday night on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." Trump not only cracked jokes and seemed self-deprecatingly likeable, he even (gasp!) let Fallon mess with his hair! ...