Hillary Rodham Clinton’s rapid fall in the polls and her struggle to escape the email scandal hasn’t shaken the confidence of veteran Democratic strategist Joe Trippi, who says the former secretary of state is poised for a comeback.
Mr. Trippi, who has worked on Democratic presidential campaigns from Walter Mondale and Gary Hart to Howard Dean and John Edwards, said that the Clinton campaign appeared to have finally gotten a handle on the email controversy that’s been dragging her down.
He said that after repeatedly fumbling questions about her exclusive use of a private email account for official business as secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton has settled on an appropriate response: It was a mistake, she’s sorry and it was allowed.
“It took her and her campaign a while to get to where they need to be on this,” Mr. Trippi said. “But this slide in her numbers was as inevitable as her probable nomination. There was no way any front-runner could have sustained the lead she started with.”
Mrs. Clinton entered the race in April with a more than 50-point lead in national polls and a similarly overwhelming advantage in early-voting states.
Her national lead had been cut to 10 points, with liberal rival Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont closing in on her, 37 percent to 27 percent, in a CNN/ORC poll released Thursday.
Several polls show that Mr. Sanders took the lead among likely Democratic voters in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary. And he edged passed Mrs. Clinton for the first time this week among likely voters in the Iowa caucuses, 41 percent to 40 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.
Mr. Trippi predicted that Mrs. Clinton would come roaring back.
“The press and pundits have tied the drop to the emails and servers but continue to underestimate how strong she really is and how difficult she remains for her opponents to defeat,” he said. “Better for her to now be in the position of successfully coming back.”
“People are going to be surprised by her strength in the early primaries and caucuses,” Mr. Trippi said.