McCain has had a good August. He's managed to keep the campaign dynamic tilted towards his issues (energy and security), he had a good showing at Saddleback Church (in front of a friendly audience it has to be said, particularly on the issue of abortion), and he seems to have landed a couple of punches on Obama. In other words, the Democratic Convention in Denver is massively significant for Obama's campaign.
David Gergen, a Republican who worked as an advisor to Bill Clinton, also notes the narrowing of the national gap and a few key states moving into McCain's column. Colorado, Virginia, and Ohio are all headed in that direction.
Often, insurgent candidates face the same issue, they tear ahead in the early stages but then get ground down in a long marathon fight. Obama has to recall the insurgency spirit that he kindled early in this year. He is unlikely to grind out a victory. He has to seize one. The next weeks are critical.
The Real Clear Politics election counter (top left) has narrowed to a 275-263 Obama victory.