So here we go, about to head into Opening Day at the Olympics. What that really means is that for all the Sturm und Drang about polls moving up and down (they haven't really done so outside of the margin of error), we haven't changed the landscape much since Obama clinched, and won't until the conventions.
Here's the Gallup from yesterday, for example. Note that the numbers generally travel within a tight range. Wavering ex-Republicans look like they are coming home on some days, wavering Democrats the next. None of that looks firm, although the enthusiasm gap remains in Obama's favor.
That's consistent with the campaign of 2008, which is not the 'base' Rove campaign of 2004. The problem with with that for McCain is that no one wants to be a Republican, an observation we made back in March. Yeah, you've heard that before but every day there's more evidence it's true.
In the 26 states and the District of Columbia where registration data were available, the total number of registered Democrats increased by 214,656, while the number of Republicans fell by 1,407,971.
It's not that everyone wants to be a Democrat, it's that the Republican brand continues to be toxic. So, to the extent that Obama reminds the voters that McCain is no moderate and is running the third Bush campaign (foreshadowing a third Bush term), he will do well for himself.
And to the extent that McCain continues to dishonor himself by getting into bed with Bush people to get himself elected, he will struggle with how to simultaneously win votes from Bush's rabid base and the moderates who will decide the election.
No media admiration of 'message' and how clever and ruthless Republicans are, even when they are acknowledged liars regarding Obama attack ads that worked far less well than they hoped, can hide McCain's challenges as a candidate and as a campaigner.
But none of that matters. People are still not focused on the campaign so much as focused on the news, and the jobs news and economic prognosis remains one of the fundamentals of this election:
June inflation jumps as incomes barely rise
So, next the Olympics, and then the conventions, and then Labor Day. Only then will this campaign really come into focus for the voters. And when it does, they'll see the same thing we see: an agent of change vs. a grumpy old man. And, alas for him, the grumpy old man has the wrong kind of friends.
Update [2008-8-5 14:35:54 by DemFromCT]: Gallup has Obama up by 4 today, so no change.
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