McCain Surging on eve of Democratic Convention

There's no other way to put it; John McCain's support has increased over the last fortnight while Barack Obama's has decreased. That's the conclusion of several recent polls as well as the judgment of political observers on the ground in some key battleground states.

national polls show McCain even with Obama. Key states like Ohio and Florida show McCain lengthening narrow leads. More significantly, the polls show McCain gaining on Obama in key demographic groups that the Democrat needs to win. And the electoral college count favors McCain for the first time.

There are several factors involved in McCain's rise, not the least of which is the candidate's own dogged determination. After a very rough spring which saw his campaign disorganized and ineffective, McCain retooled his operation back in June and it is now percolating along quite nicely. The campaign boasts a media operation that rivals Obama's if not in size then certainly in effectiveness. And McCain is smartly relying on the party for a much of his state ground game which saves him money.
In fact, the national Republican party, flush with cash, seems to be coming out of its winter doldrums and is starting to get the rank and file to
actually believe that McCain can win this thing.

But it is the candidate himself who deserves most of the praise for hanging close in a race many believed was a lost cause. We forget at our peril that John McCain has proved before that he has absolutely no quit in him. You don't survive the horrors of 5 years in captivity to a brutal regime and not have something special inside that drives you to overcome the odds and achieve success.

More prosaically, there are probably two big factors that worked against Obama and allowed McCain to claw his way in to the race. The first was Obama's European trip - a disaster in retrospect that served to convince people that Obama was arrogant and cared more about looking good overseas than what was going on at home.

The second factor has almost certainly been the Russian attack on Georgia where McCain's immediate gut instincts proved to be far superior to Obama's spineless moralizing. By a 2-1 margin, the American people believe McCain would be better at handling the Russians.

Eventually though, the Russian-Georgian war will fade into the background and the economy will emerge once again as the center of the campaign. In this, Obama has a decided advantage as the voters see the Democrats as being much more capable of dealing with the current downturn. But as McCain has proved, it doesn't matter what disadvantages he might have, if the winner of the race is to be determined by who demonstrates more fortitude and stick-to-it-iveness, John McCain will be there all the way to the finish line.