A week ago, Democrats could scarcely shroud their mental issues about tightening poll numbers and the pressure on Hillary Clinton to regain her balance in the first debate against Donald J. Trump on Monday. On Tuesday, they inhaled a sigh of relief.
Mrs. Clinton did not convey a deadly blow or reconnect to voters in a way that will radically adjust the shapes of an odd election year. However, she evaded the area mines that Mr. Trump had so viably planted against his Republican primary opponents.
“He just ran out of gas,” said Steve Elmendorf, a veteran Democratic strategist, and lobbyist, who indicated Mr. Trump not forcefully assaulting Mrs. Clinton on her email practices or the Clinton Foundation. “If we had a person who lacked stamina last night, it was Donald Trump.”
Following a few rough weeks, Mrs. Clinton welcomed reporters on Tuesday morning with a new dosage of certainty. “We had a great, great time last night,” she said, and then quoted the baseball legend, Ernie Banks, “Let’s play two.”
In an interview on ABC’s “The View” on Tuesday, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said, “I don’t want just to win by a little, I want to win by a lot.”
“America got the chance to see the Hillary I’ve known for a long time,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York. “She was smart, strong and presidential.”
There was additionally a feeling that the inclination could fleeting. After all, the strong knock Mrs. Clinton got after the Democratic National Convention in July dissipated after she rose up out of an August pressed with private fund-raisers. By September, national surveying averages demonstrated a marked narrowing of the race.
In a New York Times/CBS News survey directed for this month, 46 percent of likely voters said they supported Mrs. Clinton, contrasted and 44 percent for Mr. Trump, down from her seven-point advantage toward the end of July.
Even Mrs. Clinton, who says she anticipated that the race would be close, has seemed jumbled by the tight surveys.
“Why aren’t I 50 points ahead?” a vivified Mrs. Clinton asked a week ago in a video address to the Laborers’ International Union of North America meeting in Las Vegas.
In an online commercial, the Trump campaign tried to answer that inquiry. “Maybe it’s because you arrogantly call Americans ‘deplorable,'” a man’s voice says in the ad after Mrs. Clinton is shown questioning the tight polls.
Against that backdrop, her campaign aides and partners, who play down the noteworthiness of any single debate, clarified the stakes of Monday’s match, held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. “Questions don’t throw her, and she’s relatively deft at landing the surgical strike,” Jennifer Palmieri, a spokeswoman for the Clinton campaign, said before the debate. “That’s when you see her at her best.”
Mrs. Clinton handled some surgical strikes, yet associates indicated a few minutes, specifically, that they would like to push through Election Day to depict Mr. Trump as a fresh specialist who has fleeced average Americans.
Democrats cheered when Mrs. Clinton charged Mr. Trump of not paying federal income taxes, and he answered, playing into their hands, “That makes me smart.” And they could scarcely trust their favorable luck when Mr. Trump said, “That’s called business, by the way,” after Mrs. Clinton accused him of profiting from the housing crisis.
Mrs. Clinton has attempted to win over average white workers voters and rushed to utilize Mr. Trump’s comments as a powerful assault on the campaign trail on Tuesday.
“The other thing he admitted last night is that he rooted for the housing crisis to happen,” she told a crowd in Raleigh, N.C. “What kind of person would like to root for nine million families losing their homes? One who should never be president.”
On Tuesday, former President Bill Clinton urged individuals in Ohio to register to vote. Mr. Trump drives Mrs. Clinton there by five percentage points, as indicated by a Bloomberg Politics poll.
Democrats wanted to impact out Mr. Trump’s debate comments to union laborers in a final desperate attempt to mellow his backing.
“All our guys in Youngstown and Akron pay their fair share of taxes,” Mr. Ryan said, alluding to Mr. Trump. “He clearly only has his social class in mind.”
Notwithstanding white common laborers voters, Mrs. Clinton attempted to focus on a few other demographic groups on Monday night.
To achieve young voters, she discussed environmental change and her arrangement to make college free. To associate with African-Americans, she offered an emotional defense of President Obama against what she called Mr. Trump’s “racist birther lie.” And to reassure female voters, she ended the evening portraying Mr. Trump as a misogynist.
“I think to the extent that either candidate reached beyond their base, it was Hillary Clinton,” said Joel Benenson, the campaign’s chief strategist and pollster.
Mr. Trump helped the Clinton campaign’s targeting on endeavors on Tuesday when he recognized constraining a Miss Universe winner, Alicia Machado, to get more fit, an assault Mrs. Clinton held up in the significant shutting minutes of the debate.
“She gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem,” Mr. Trump told Fox News.
“It should have been, ‘CleanUp in Aisle 6,'” Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, said of Mr. Trump’s remarks, “and instead he knocked four or five more bottles off the shelf.”
Even with a newly discovered spring in their progression, Democrats say that Mr. Trump has repeatedly demonstrated his capacity to ricochet back and that the strong audits for Mrs. Clinton’s debate performance may accomplish more to enhance discernments about her candidacy than actual poll numbers.
“I think confidence is a bad idea,” Ms. McCaskill said.