I am not the biggest fan of Barack Obama. I have written elsewhere that I thought his speech in Germany was dumb and would have been better left till he actually was President. And since then the polls in America have also shown a "narrowing" - by the start of the Democratic National Convention last week, Gallup poll in America had Obama and McCain equal at 45%.
But since then three things have happened, that have caused me to believe he will win on November 4:
First, the Democratic conference went off without a hitch - in fact it was an over the top success - Hilary and Bill Clinton delivered great speeches (both getting believably behind Obama - an amazing feat really)
And Obama's speech (though not as good as either of the Clinton's in my opinion) was watched by 40 million people in the US - meaning more in that country watched it than the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics, the final of this year's American Idol, or the Academy Awards; and it is also nearly double the number who watched the John Kerry's speech at the 2004 convention.
Which means people who don't like politics are interested in him, which means people who don't normally vote will likely vote for him.
Second, Jon McCain, a 72 year old man, whose health was such an issue in May is let the press see his medical records, chose as his vice-president nominee, the 44 year old Governor of Alaska - Sarah Palin.
Now Palin has been Governor for only 2 years; prior to that she was Mayor of the Alaskan town of Wasilla, which has the population of around 6,ooo; she has no national political experience; is pro-guns, pro-life, anti-environmental; and has no idea of what being vice-president means - check out this snippet:
Now the VP choice doesn't usually mean much - after all George Bush still won with Dan Quayle - but McCain needed the issue of his health to be a non-issue, and with such an inexperienced running mate expect to hear the phrase "a heart beat away from the Presidency" wheeled out again and again and again.
Palin adds nothing to McCain's campaign - the only people who will like her were those who were going to vote for him anyway.
And as she is apparently quite outspoken, expect Obama's people to find many, many comments by her that come across somewhat shall we say controversial (no let's say dumb) - like this one of her found by The Huffington Post of her laughing on a radio show as the DJ refers to an Alaskan Senator as "a cancer" - which isn't quite as "funny" when you know that the person they're laughing about (Lyda Green) has survived breast cancer.
Janet Albrechtsen of The Australian thinks this outspokenness means she has "moxie"; I think it means she will be an embarrassment.
So what has happened since the end of the Democratic Conference and the naming of Palin? According to Gallup, Obama now leads by 48% to 42%.
Now this wouldn't usually matter so much because this week the Republican National Convention was due to be held, and one would expect McCain to get a bit of a post-convention bounce as well. But at the moment Hurricane Gustav is bearing down on New Orleans, which has caused George W Bush to skip the convention (not a bad thing) but has also meant the convention has been suspended - because you can't very well celebrate while millions are fleeing their homes, especially when everyone is thinking about Hurricane Katrina, and how badly Bush handled that.
So to sum up - big convention boost for Obama; bad choice for VP by McCain (and one whom McCain's wife told a national media program has experience with national security issue because Alaska is close to Russia - trust me, I am not making this stuff up!); and then the Republican convention is marred by Gustav and memories of Katrina, meaning no post-convention boost.
That's 3 of a kind held by Obama going into the last 2 months. A pretty strong hand. Good enough for me to call it done and dusted.