Via LA Times:
11:02 PM PDT, September 9, 2008
The emergence of Sarah Palin as a political force in the presidential race has left many top Democrats fretting that, just two weeks after their convention ended on an emotional high, Barck Obama’s campaign has suddenly lost its stride.
Obama has responded aggressively this week to Palin’s presence on the Republican ticket, using TV ads and campaign rallies to attack her contention that she is a political reformer who will take on the Washington establishment — a role Obama has long claimed as his alone.
But some Democrats are now worried about the perils of Obama’s strategy, saying that his campaign, instead of engaging the Alaska governor, should avoid any move that draws more attention to her and could enhance her appeal among the white, blue-collar voters who remain cool to Obama’s candidacy.
A series of new polls suggests that Palin has given a major boost to John McCain’s campaign, exciting the GOP base, winning over white women and all but erasing Obama’s lead.
Concern among Democrats was high enough Tuesday that Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), one of Obama’s strongest supporters, felt it necessary to cite historical polling data at a lunch of Democratic senators to convince them that post-convention “bounces,” such as the one that has followed last week’s GOP convention, have often faded in past elections.
To reassure nervous lawmakers, Durbin also reviewed Democratic registration gains this year in key battleground states.
Still, Democrats expressed anxiety about the new challenge suggested by recent surveys showing McCain has gained ground among independent voters and women, who could decide the race in states such as Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia.