A new Reuters/Zogby poll shows that John McCain now leads Barack Obama by five points among likely voters. Obama is even slipping in the key demographic groups that have been among his strongest including the 18-29 voting bloc, where he has dropped 12 points in just one month.
So what's going on here?
First, any sane observer of politics has to now admit that the Obama World Tour especially his Berlin speech backfired in a major way. That marked the beginning of the Obama crumble. His standing side by side with foreign leaders might have boosted his numbers in Paris, but not in Pittsburgh. It didn't sit right with a lot of voters in the states that are up for grabs now states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan.
Second, Senator Obama underestimates how much Americans love to win. Whether we're talking the Olympics, the military or the economy, we like being NUMBER ONE. And we want a president who doesn't give into the pessimism of those who say that American must conform to a new global order, where China is the dominant player.
Americans are can-do people and always will be. While McCain touts the success of the surge in Iraq, Obama downplays it. While McCain pushes for more domestic oil exploration to grow the economy, Obama rants about windfall profits. Apparently, it's "yes we can" except when it comes to tapping all energy sources.
Third, McCain is ahead because he is connecting with conservatives. At the Saddleback Forum, he spoke with clarity and conviction, while Obama struggled. Even if you disagreed with McCain that life begins at conception, as compared to Obama's "above my pay grade" stumble, McCain appeared confident and strong. He came across as a proud conservative, not an apologetic one.
McCain can lose the ground he has made up by doing something really stupid like picking a pro-choice running mate, but right now he looks like a winner. And most important, he thinks American can, and will, win, too. Silver and bronze are nice, but we still want the gold.