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.
"It's not that people think McCain will win – it's that they are realizing that McCain could win," says Quinnipiac University pollster Peter Brown, whose surveys show tight races in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. "This election is about Barack Obama — not John McCain — it's about whether Barack Obama passes muster. Every poll shows that people want a Democratic president, the problem is they're not sure they want Barack Obama."