The Presidential Battleground Remains in the Suburbs, Even as Polls Look Good for Obama

The polls look good for Obama, but it will all come down to key suburban counties.

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I'm not gonna gush like Rachel Maddow over the growing tide of polls that show Barack Obama building big leads in the battleground states.

If John McCain has truly fallen 4 to 10 points behind in places like Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and Colorado in the past week, then we may be witnessing an implosion of historic scale for the Republican presidential campaign.

I'm old enough, however, to remember how the projected Clinton "landslides" shrank to modest victories in 1992 and 1996 and how Al Gore and John Kerry looked so good in the exit polls on Election Day.

Unless Republican voters are so dispirited by McCain's untethered candidacy or so scared at the thought of President Sarah Palin, I have to believe that the GOP base will rally, the social conservatives will again vote in droves—and we've still got a third reel to sit through and enjoy.

I will say that the turf has looked better for the Democrats with each day that has passed since the start of the Democratic convention.

That was the moment when the race stopped being about Barack Obama's pedigree and experience and started to turn on McCain, Palin, and the economy.

Character is destiny. With all the drama and turmoil on the McCain side, Obama has been freed to look presidential. He is closing the deal with voters just as he started his campaign and maintained it through 18 months of political combat: coolly, calmly, relentlessly, and efficiently.

And while there may be some small-town folks and big city slickers who are voting against type this fall, I've joined others in noting that the election will very likely be decided in America's suburbs, where voters look for these qualities.

Over at the National Committee for an Effective Congress, Mark Gersh and his colleagues offer a fresh, fine analysis of the importance of Arapahoe County in Colorado; Dakota County in Minnesota, Fairfax County in Virginia, and other crucial suburban battlefields and how Democrats have been winning as the electorate, and the issues, grow more diverse.

Obama, at this point, appears to have assured these voters about his experience and character.

It is out there in the burbs, if he is indeed amassing significant leads over his rival, that Obama is beginning to look like a president.