The political landscape has changed greatly during the past four years—increased opposition to the war in Iraq, greater Democratic party identification, greater support for generic Democratic candidates for the U.S. House, and a 20-point decrease in President George W. Bush's approval.
While all of these factors conspire to the benefit of the junior Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama has no greater lead over John McCain nationally than John Kerry had over President Bush four years ago.
In a Gallup poll conducted June 21-23, 2004, Kerry led Bush 46.4 percent to 43.8 percent with 3.6 percent supporting neither candidate.
In Gallup's latest tracking poll, conducted June 20-22, 2008, Obama leads McCain 46 percent to 43 percent, with 4 percent supporting neither candidate.
This cannot be good news for the Obama campaign—who did not experience anything resembling a sustained bounce after Hillary Clinton officially suspended her campaign a few weeks ago, making Obama the effective Democratic nominee. Despite American getting to know him during a half of a year of intense media coverage through his political battle with Clinton, Obama is still in a dead heat with a candidate many have labeled as being tied to an extremely unpopular President.