The last several polls have tipped the RCP average back into the Obama column. I think there are basically three reasons this has happened:
Negative campaigning works. Many Americans were driven to Palin by the media’s hysterical outrage at her selection. But the smear campaign has been effective, with many smears simply taken as fact.
Republican economic incoherence. The chosen theme for McCain and the GOP this week should have been responsibility. Instead everyone was singing off difference songsheets while Obama was beating the drum.
Obama has deployed the field troops. I think the brief McCain lead caused the Obama campaign to launch its activists a week or two early. Call it the “Obama surge.”
Obama’s still got several fundamental weaknesses. People are tired of his brand; his ideas are still awful; and he is going to struggle to swing back to positive campaigning.
The McCain team has got it right by emphasizing their ticket’s positives rather than Obama’s negatives. They need to do more. They need a message of responsibility on the economy and they need to get the volunteers moving.