It’s imperative for Obama to get a sizeable bounce out of this convention since he didn’t get one by choosing Biden. The Democrat nominee usually has a healthy lead in August polls as well as in electoral vote projections.
Rasmussen’s latest electoral vote projection has Obama leading McCain by only 10 votes–193 to 183. Obama’s lead has shrunk by 35 votes since the previous projection. Every single state in which there has been a shift has trended away from Obama, including Ohio which has gone from ” Leans Democrat” in early July to “Toss-Up” in late July to “Leans Republican” today.
( BTW – In August 2004 Kerry had greater than a 100 vote lead over Bush in most electoral projections.) There will be few opportunities between the convention and the election for Obama to improve his poll numbers. In fact, his campaign’s reaction to the Ayers issue shows they realize that that there are numerous opportunities for continued erosion.
Barring calamitous gaffes by either candidate, the debates present the best remaining opportunities for separation. But the presumption that Obama would shine in the debates was deflated when McCain trounced Obama at Saddleback.
Obama may still have two significant advantages: cash and turnout. Democrats, stung by the GOP turnout machine in 2004, have been working furiously to make sure voters get to the polls. This could be the difference in 2008.
Two of the biggest unknowns: to what extent are the polls underestimating the turnout among black voters, especially in pivotal states like Ohio ( in the primaries, polls underestimated black turnout in some southern states) ; to what extent are polls overestimating support for Obama in pivotal states ( Obama performed significantly worse than his poll numbers projected in several states).