ONE NON-SNARKY REASON BAD POLLS MIGHT BE GOOD FOR OBAMA
But first, the snarky reason, from John Cole:
... if Obama only leading nationally by a few points all summer was considered bad news for Obama, then clearly McCain taking the lead must be construed as bad news for John McCain. Or am I just not really understanding the premise that EVERYTHING IS GOOD NEWS FOR JOHN MCCAIN, and that when Obama was only leading by 5 it was bad news for Obama, and this is now CATASTROPHIC NEWS and the CAMPAIGN IS IN DISARRAY and they NEED A SHAKE-UP!
Now my reason for why there might (and I stress might) be a silver lining in the Reuters/Zogby poll showing McCain up by 5 and other dire portents:
No one can say anymore that Obama's the golden boy who's just waltzing into the White House without half trying because the other party is despised and the other guy has no fight in him. Obviously McCain has fight in him, and obviously he's fooled a lot of people into thinking he's not really the second coming of Bush. And no one can seriously argue anymore that Obama's being handed the nomination by the media; obviously the press is turning (back) into the McCain Fan Club, singing the paises of his deeply honorable maverickitude and declaring him the silver-tongued one after Saddleback. A vote for Obama now isn't going to be a vote for the most popular guy on campus -- it's going to be a vote for the underdog.
Maybe this is the road he had to travel. Maybe he had to get scuffed up before the public could accept him. Maybe he's not Dukakis plummeting in the polls in the summer of '88 -- maybe he's Bill Clinton in the spring of '92, who went from fair-haired press darling before the primaries to tarnished adulterer after them, so tarnished he was in third place in general-election polls, but who then pulled himself back up to first place, then hung tough as his long-resume'd war-hero opponent resorted to schoolyard taunts about inexperience.
I know, I know -- this is breathtakingly optimistic. The deck is stacked against Obama the way it's always stacked against a Democrat in a presidential year, and a lot of people thought that wasn't going to happen this time. Well, it did -- but maybe McCain peaked too soon, and Obama's new underdog status will make him the scrappy comeback kid.