Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is surging in polls with eight weeks left before Election Day, his South Carolina campaign chairman said Monday in Anderson.
"Right now, the trend is phenomenal," Ed McMullen told the 1st Monday Club of Anderson. "The fact of the matter is South Carolina is doing extremely well, as is the nation and so are those key battleground states."
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton currently leads Trump by 3 percent, based on the latest aggregation of national polls compiled by RealClearPolitics.com. Her lead was twice as large about two weeks ago.
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According to the same website, Clinton is leading in North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia while Trump is ahead in Florida, Georgia and Iowa.
McMullen said Trump's rise comes as more voters start to focus on the presidential race.
"People are waking up and seeing the real effects of what Hillary would do to this country versus what Mr. Trump's vision is," he said.
Trump made two campaign appearances in Anderson County before winning the South Carolina Republican presidential primary in February. As part of his "50-state strategy," Trump intends to return to South Carolina later this month or in early October, McMullen said.
McMullen is the president of a public affairs firm that previously worked with the conservative Heritage Foundation. He said he was a college student when he first met Trump, whom he described as a "very interesting, very caring person."
"This is a man who truly is very different from the media perception," McMullen said.
McMullen said Trump shares similar views on trade and immigration as former President Ronald Reagan.
"Mr. Trump truly is a Reaganite," he said.
In contrast, McMullen said, Clinton would "decimate the country" with her open-border policies and U.S. Supreme Court appointments.
McMullen said a series of changes in Trump's campaign leadership are no cause for concern.
"There is no disarray here," he said, adding that Trump is adept at "finding the right person for the right time."
Anderson resident Denise Oxford told McMullen that she is pleased that Trump has shown a "more gracious and charming" demeanor on the campaign trail recently. She praised Trump for not making any negative comments after Clinton had to be helped into a van while leaving a 9/11 anniversary event in New York City on Sunday.
McMullen said Trump's "change in tone" has been intentional.
"He acknowledges that is critical to being successful," he said.