The big MO, Momentum, is like boiling water -- once it is built up it takes on a life of its own. The Chinese understands this well, and has a word that aptly describes it: 勢. It is what carries you to the finish line. And it is not how you start that counts, but the finish. And peaking too early but losing the MO in the last leg results in spectacular failure.
With less than 60 days to go, Obama's MO certainly has gone the wrong way. With the selection of Palin and a rejuvenated campaign, McCain is now the one with the positive MO. He is gaining on nearly all fronts: the woman votes, the religious votes, the white-man votes, the Republican base votes, the independent votes. The latter is particularly important, as they may well be the deciding factor in this election. McCain had 40% of these votes before the RNC, and it is now at 52%.
Meanwhile McCain has effectively co-opted the image of Change. With that, there is not much air left in the Obama rhetoric ballon. He is fighting to convince people that he has more experience than Palin, and he is the one who is going to lower taxes for 95% of the population. Voters are taking another good look at the man, and many are beginning to see that the emperor is just an empty suit. His lack of relevant experience is being highlighted. His judgment is being called into question. Even his self-confidence as a leader is suspect, as voters see that his failure to choose Clinton as the running mate demonstrates the fear that she is going to overshadow him.
The lack of MO was what dogged Obama in the final months of the primary, as he was unable to finish off Clinton. The same thing is happening now. And worse, it is negative MO that is building up for him. So I expect the new polls to continue to show a spectacular campaign collapse that is unrivaled in history.
His next big hurdle is the debates. Obama is great orating from a teleprompter, but if he is not reading he is in trouble. He even stutters and stammers while making a simple statement. Some says that is because he chooses his words so carefully. I think that he is simply struggling to gather his thoughts. Watch this video, which shows a babbling and incoherent Obama when the telepromopter suddenly goes out:
How about this Obma Uh count shown by David Letterman:
Though McCain is not an orator, he answers questions calmly and can express himself with authority, sincerity and dignity that befits a president. So I think the upcoming debates will further undo Obama.