What's next in race for White House?

Delegates head home after DNC

Delegates raise their fists during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Thursday, July 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Delegates raise their fists during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Thursday, July 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) (Associated Press)

PHILADELPHIA – The presidential race has officially shifted into general election mode after the Democratic National Convention wrapped up in Philadelphia Thursday evening with Hillary Clinton accepting the party's presidential nomination. 

In a little more than three months, voters will head to the polls -- with most choosing between Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. 

"The kind of candidate Trump is celebrity, Hollywood-type, reality show-type candidate. And then the history-making nature of the first woman nominated for president. All in all (that) explains why we've had record numbers of people saying that they are really interested in this year's election," said Dr. Susan MacManus, political science professor at the University of South Florida.

MacManus follows presidential races closely and attended both the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week and the DNC.

She said both Republicans and Democrats have been struggling with party unity -- and it's a challenge the Democrats are still dealing with.

"It's still a challenge to bring some of the (Bernie) Sanders voters into the fold, especially when they are not all here, the ones who are not delegates. But they are working on it and they have time," MacManus said. 

While unity has been a common problem, MacManus said Clinton has enjoyed a better lineup of notable speakers stepping up to support her. 

"When you have an incumbent president, (who) has been a two-term president, and first lady, and the vice president who is popular with the party, that's the kind of thing that the 'out' party can't do. They can't tap into those kinds of surrogates. It can just be electrifying to the delegates at a convention," MacManus said. 

Between now and November, MacManus said, one of the big questions will be the ground game.

"Big question is always turnout. But right now, we do know that they are paying attention and they are intrigued by it and everybody is talking about it at the workplace and wherever else -- restaurants. I sometimes go into a restaurant and sit and listen. How long does it take for politics to come up? Usually not very long," MacManus said. 

The ground game is something that party activists acknowledged is part of their mission once they return home from Philadelphia. 

"Registering voters. Turning people out because this is a turnout election. And it takes a lot of hard work. But we've had over 30 staffers in Jacksonville in the last 60 days, 30 pairs of boots on the ground. That's only going to ramp up toward election day," said Lisa King, a Clinton campaign activist. 

News4Jax also asked MacManus if Clinton can expect to enjoy a post-convention bump in the polls like Trump did. She said the campaign will have to wait a day or two to see if its message sets in, and that the Democrats are hopeful that their message will resonate more with some voters, other than their opponents. 

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