Karl Rove: Donald Trump still has a long way to go

New polls show presidential race tightening in key states


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," September 14, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: This is Donald Trump now leaving Flint, Michigan.

I believe my friend and colleague Karl Rove was witnessing all of this.

What did you think of it?

KARL ROVE, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, it's a -- you know, you go into some environments in which you're not expected to be political, and there's somebody reacting to that.

They would reacted to it. If they hadn't interrupted then, they would have said something about it later. But I give Trump credit for going to places. He went to Louisiana for -- in the immediate aftermath of the flood. He went to Detroit and gave I think a spectacular presentation in a church on Saturday a couple weeks ago.

I think this is important for him to go. And he gets point for showing up and demonstrates that he is willing consider the problems of people who are not run-of-the-mill Republicans.

CAVUTO: You know, it may be just me, Karl, but I -- Trump's reaction to getting interrupted there, and whether this the venue, a religious venue, again, a Methodist Church, to get into -- people can debate that, I guess, depending on what side you're on.

But he handled it in a way that we think is a little different from the early Donald Trump, where he might have lambasted her or -- the host there. He didn't do that. He was very professional about it, and went back to a great discussion of what is at stake and just sort of glossed over it. What did you think of that?

ROVE: Yes, I thought, look, the guy's got a lot of charm. And when he wants to turn it on, he can turn it on.

I think there's a difference between the Donald Trump that we see either reading off a teleprompter -- and he's getting very good at teleprompter speeches -- and the Donald Trump that we see in places like this where it's not a huge rally, because we get to see a guy who is more low-key, more even-toned, can handle something like that with a great of aplomb, and create a very good impression.

You saw it in Mexico City in the aftermath of the meeting with President Nieto. I think that news conference was a very different Donald Trump than we might have expected to see in a high-stakes diplomatic moment like that.

CAVUTO: What do you make of the latest action in some of these polls that show reversal from where we were just a few weeks ago, in Ohio right now, where Donald Trump has built a lead, in Nevada, where he's got a slight lead? This is a reversal of positions again as recently as last week in the case of Ohio.

But there's something more going on, even in these other states. As you pointed out, North Carolina, we got news out of there last week. He is narrowing or reversing early Clinton leads. Is she stumbling, or is he surging?

ROVE: The answer to that is yes to both.

Look, her peak in the RealClearPolitics average was about the 7th of August, when she had a 7.9 lead in the national average of polls. As of today, it's just about 3 percent. And as it has narrowed nationally, it has narrowed in some, not all states. Ohio, you are just pointed to, five- point margin in a Bloomberg poll run by a pretty respected firm, Selzer, out of Iowa.

I understand it's just joined -- been joined this afternoon by another poll run by CNN that shows a five-point margin for Trump in this critical battleground state. Similarly, he's shown improvement in Florida.

You mentioned Nevada. He actually was ahead in Nevada until the end of July in the RealClearPolitics average. There weren't -- there haven't been a lot of polls there, but he let until the end of July. The race is essentially dead even there. And that shows -- the Monmouth -- looking at Monmouth in July and Monmouth in September. And as you can see, he's risen three, she's dropped three.

That's just one poll, but it's nice to look at the changes in one poll over time, because they will have the same methodology intact. So, he still has a long way to go. He takes Florida, he keeps all the Romney states, he takes Florida, that gets him to 235. He takes Ohio, that gets him to 253. He takes Nevada, that gets him to 259.

He's still 11 short. Even if he gets Iowa, which is a state that he's also leading in today, that gets him to 265, but he's got to get something else big to get there, and maybe something small. There's a new poll of Maine shows him leading in the 2nd District of Maine. Maine is one of two states that splits its votes on a congressional district basis.

And he's leading in one of those districts, giving him one addition Electoral College vote. So it's going to be really interesting to watch.  But he's got a few paths to victory. She's got a lot more, but he's making some real good progress the last month.

CAVUTO: Yes, he's got more paths than he had a couple weeks ago.  Wild stuff.

ROVE: Yes.   

CAVUTO: Karl Rove, thank you very, very much.

Content and Programming Copyright 2016 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2016 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.