PHILADELPHIA (CBSNewYork/AP) — It’s Hillary Clinton’s turn.
After three days of Democratic stars, including a pair of presidents, asserting she is ready for the White House, Clinton must make that case for herself on her nominating convention’s final night.
The first woman to lead a major U.S. political party toward the White House, Clinton will be greeted by a crowd of cheering delegates eager to see history made in the November election. But her real audience will be millions of voters who may welcome her experience but question her character.
For Clinton, the stakes are enormous.
She’s locked in a tight general election contest with Republican Donald Trump, an unconventional candidate and political novice. Even as Clinton and her validators argue Trump is unqualified for the Oval Office, they recognize the businessman has a visceral connection with some voters in a way the Democratic nominee does not.
A recent Reuters-Ipsos poll finds her numbers slipping. Trump is now a few points ahead in a match up against Clinton with about 13 percent of those surveyed saying that they wouldn’t vote for either candidate, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported.
CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported the latest CBS News poll revealed Clinton had an unfavorable rating of 56 percent, and just a 31 percent favorable rating. Trump is also dealing with the same issue, as he has a 53 percent unfavorable rating and a 34 percent favorable rating.
However, a recent Suffolk University poll shows Clinton holds a nine-point lead over Trump in the swing state of Pennsylvania — 50 to 41 percent.
“Hillary Clinton is flirting with fifty thanks to Philly,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Research Center in Boston. “At this point Clinton’s large lead in the Philadelphia area is offsetting losses to Trump in other parts of the state. She also is amassing the support of women and thus drowning out Trump’s marginal lead among men.”
Her campaign manager, Robby Mook, outlined the points Thursday he said Clinton needs to drive home in order to win over support.
“First and foremost, she needs to lay out a vision for where she wants to take the country,” he said. “What we need to do as a campaign and what Hillary is going to do tonight and done at this convention is making sure people know the facts.”
Mook also touched on the fact about Americans not trusting her.
“Look, she has said many times she needs to earn the voters’ trust and what you’ve seen the last few days of this convention are people speaking about how they know they can trust Hillary because she’s always delivered for them,” Mook said.
Larry Levy of Hofstra University said Clinton needs to address Bernie Sanders supporters in her speech.
“Hillary has a couple of tasks,” Levy said. “She obviously has to take care of her base and make sure that the last of the Bernie supporters she could ever get are on board.”
However, many “Bernie or Bust” supporters are holding out. They carried signs that read “Hillary for Fear” and “Oligarchy” while disrupting the California delegation’s breakfast, and a number of Sanders delegates from New York have said they might vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, or simply stay home.
“Tonight is very important because it’s the first time they’re gonna see her directly, not what the media says or in a sound byte, but for a half-hour,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said. “And if she can convince middle class people that A: she cares about them, and B: she can do something to help their plight, it’ll be the road to victory.”
Clinton will be introduced by her daughter Chelsea before formally accepting the nomination.
Wednesday night, President Barack Obama declared there’s never been a man or a woman more qualified than Clinton to be president.
Obama cast Clinton as a candidate who believes in the optimism that drives the nation’s democracy. And he warned against what he called the “deeply pessimistic vision” of Trump.
The president also tried to make a clear distinction between the candidates, drawing from a theme of his previous campaigns.
“It’s about, ‘Yes we can’ and we’re going to carry Hillary to victory this fall, because that’s what the moment demands,” he said.
Clinton appeared onstage to greet Obama with a long embrace.
Her running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, formally accepted his nomination as vice president and took Trump to task as well.
“Our nation is too great to put it in the hands of a slick-talking, empty-promising, self-promoting, one-man wrecking crew,” he told the crowd.
Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, a former Republican with ties to Trump, also made an appearance, blasting his fellow billionaire.
“Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s run his business,” he said. “God help us.”
Trump dismissed the heavy Democratic criticism Thursday as “mostly false stuff.”
He told Fox News Channel in an interview that “I guess I take it a little bit personally, but you can’t let it get you down.”
Trump said in a statement that “Democrats have been speaking about a world that doesn’t exist” during this week’s convention.
“A world where America has full employment, where there’s no such thing as radical Islamic terrorism, where the border is totally secured, and where thousands of innocent Americans have not suffered from rising crime in cities like Baltimore and Chicago,” Trump said.
He continued, “I propose a different vision for America, one where we can break up Washington’s rigged system, and empower all Americans to achieve their dreams. In our vision, we will put America First.”
Trump adviser Stephen Miller said the message conveyed by Democrats was that things are perfect and said Democrats resorted to fear to try to scare voters away from supporting Trump.
To Democrats, Trump’s comments this week about Russia underscored their concerns about him becoming commander in chief.
Following reports Russia hacked Democratic Party emails, Trump said he’d like to see Moscow find the thousands of emails Clinton deleted from the account she used as secretary of state. The appearance of him encouraging Russia to meddle in the presidential campaign enraged Democrats and Republicans, even as he dismissed suggestions from Obama and other Democrats that Moscow already was intervening on his behalf.
Hours later, Trump told Fox News he was being “sarcastic” although shortly after his remarks on Wednesday, he tweeted that Russia should share the emails with the FBI.
Thursday night’s convention lineup will also showcase Democratic up-and-comers, including Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro; Katie McGinty, a Senate candidate from Pennsylvania, and Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth, also a candidate for the Senate.
Pop singer Katy Perry is scheduled to perform.
(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)