Glenn Thrush Mon Aug 11, 5:29 AM ET
A few weeks back, Time magazine was musing that John McCain was in danger of sliding from “a long shot” to a “no-shot.” Around the same time, a hard-nosed former Hillary Clinton insider declared the race “effectively over” thanks to the McCain campaign’s ineptitude, the tanking U.S. economy and Obama’s advantages in cash, charisma and hope. And Obama, up by three to six points nationally, was about to leverage a much-anticipated trip to Iraq, Afghanistan and Europe into a pre-convention poll surge.
Instead, his supporters are now suffering a pre-Denver panic attack, watching as John McCain draws incrementally closer in state and national polls – with Rasmussen’s most recent daily national tracker showing a statistical dead heat.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has been privately enumerating her doubts about Obama to supporters, according to people who have spoken with her. Clinton’s pollster Mark Penn recently unveiled a PowerPoint presentation red-flagging Obama’s lukewarm leads among white female voters and Hispanics – while predicting a five-point swing could turn a presumed Obama win into a McCain landslide.