The good news is that Obama's fund raising and enthusiasm advantage remain formidable. We're going to win. Unfortunately, the hunt for the elusive Independent vote doesn't seem to be going very well for either candidate:
Independents, whom both McCain and Obama are avidly pursuing, remain underwhelmed. Only 21 percent find the election interesting — down from 31 percent in November — and just 7 percent say it's exciting. Substantial numbers say they feel frustrated, helpless and even bored.
Independents are about evenly divided between the two candidates, with about a quarter behind each. Four in 10 remain undecided, and half say they could still change their minds.
I don't know what these people need to make an election interesting. If the huge crowds, new faces, songs, debates galore and huge issues don't do it, I'm not sure what these people want. On the other hand, if it's stale story lines and narratives that are getting them down, then you can't really blame them. Listening to gasbags drone on about soccer Moms and security Dads again would put even the most interested observer into a coma.
None of this concerns me all that much because I still think this election will depend on Democratic turnout. High party ID, great ground organization and lots of enthusiasm is key and that seems to be in the bag. And the independents may get excited as the big set pieces of the campaign, like this overseas trip and the convention, get a lot of media attention. These are the dog days. And even if they don't it's hard to see how they vote for Mr Excitement. Unless they find crotchety men screaming at the kids to get off their lawns to be interesting, it's unlikely they'll suddenly decide that he's their guy.
On the other hand, if they don't want to take any chances, Obama and McCain could partner each other on Dancing With the Stars. That might raise the excitement level.