I'm not as convinced that Kerry is already toast. A few reasons why:
The high "wrong track" and "somebody new" numbers. The GOP may have raised Kerry's negatives, but the public mood remains sour.
The strikingly pessimistic views of undecided voters. And the general tendency for undecided voters to break against well-known, well-defined incumbents.
The fact that we are coming close to 1000 Americans dead in Iraq -- a natural news hook to disrupt the "new normal."
Unlike Steve, I doubt that Bush will get much of a bounce out of the convention. His numbers among Republicans don't leave him with much room to grow.
In terms of state-by-state polls, the latest numbers in Ohio and Florida show the race tied -- even after what everyone acknowledges has been a rough spot for Kerry. Plus most observers still put Pennsylvania in Kerry's column. And when was the last time you saw a poll putting Bush over 50 percent in any of these states? Or a (non-Republican) poll with him having a really significant (>3 point) lead nationally?
Two huge questions remain: whether the Kerry campaign can reshape its communications strategy pronto, and whether they can then push those domestic themes Steve mentioned onto the front page.