I was drawn to the phrase, “a man now within a nose-hair of the presidency" in the article that came under the title, “Fat-Shamer in Chief” in New York Times September 30 issue that begins with the following passage:
“Apparently, millions of Americans don’t care that a man now within a nose-hair of the presidency may be the most prolific liar in modern political history. Nor do they care about the authoritarian policies he espouses, his truly scary embrace of dictators abroad and crackpots at home, or his monumental ignorance on every subject.”
I surmise the phrase, “a nose-hair” means a close distance, and “a man now within a nose-hair of the presidency” means “a man who is now very close to the presidency," however, I’m not able to find the usage of “within a nose-hair of (a status / position by distance) “ in English dictionaries at hand, nor on line. Googling gave me only “nose hairs” as a noun and a picture of nose hair cutter.
In Japanese, we say “目と鼻の先 – the distance between one’s eyes and nose” to describe a very close distance.
Is it common to use “within a nose-hair of” in such was as “a man now within a nose-hair of the presidency”?