But are these McCain attacks on Obama going to work? Clearly they have not so far. Obama has lower negatives than McCain and his unfavorable rating has not risen despite the avalanche of attack advertising to which he has been subjected. Possibly, voters are just inured to the attacks and disregard them. But more likely they are just distracted by the financial meltdown all around them. We have never had a presidential race, since 1944, where the contest was not the most important news in the four weeks before the election. (In 1944, the war overshadowed the election, much to the frustration of the Republican candidate, Thomas E. Dewey.) The candidates seem unable to get a word in edgewise as the financial news dominates. People follow the Dow Jones more than the Gallup, Rasmussen or Zogby polls.
If the presidential race remains an afterthought, crowded out by the financial news, Obama will waltz into the White House by a comfortable margin. But if the stock market stops its gyrations for a while and no new household name/corporation or bank goes broke, the negatives against Obama will compel attention at last.
And then the race may close swiftly and dramatically.