I'm going to go ahead and say it: I think Bush will win. Not based on any sophisticated analysis of battleground polls; it's just my intuition.
I watched snippets of two speeches yesterday: Bush in New Jersey and Gore in Washington. Bush was feisty, confident, energetic, resolved and optimistic - even as he ripped into Kerry's record and positions. Gore was bitter, angry, disdainful and paternalistic. Granted, Kerry on the campaign trail is not quite as negative as Gore was yesterday, but negativity remains his main theme.
A challenger needs to accomplish two things to unseat an incumbent politician: Discredit the incumbent's record, and offer instead a safe pair of hands with a positive vision for the future.
On the first count, Bush's record is clearly mixed on both foreign and domestic affairs. On many points, Kerry's critique hits the mark, and only about half the electorate rate Bush favorably. But attacking Bush's record isn't enough.
Americans look for vision in their presidents, not bitterness. Reagan in 1980 and Clinton in 1992 offered that optimism, along with their harsh critiques of the incumbents. In this respect, Kerry-Edwards resembles Dole-Kemp. Grumpiness and anger don't win the presidency.
Unless the mainstream electorate is far angrier than I think - or the Angry Left turnout far higher than usual - I don't see the country choosing Kerry over Bush.
See you in two weeks.