I have to admit that, as per below, my estimate of what was going on in the internals of the polls was driven by my utter and complete lack of buy-in for Kerry. For example, Martin Peretz's quite nasty editorial in today's WSJ found nothing but assent on my end of the stick--and yet, like Peretz, I'm stuck voting for the guy. I also think that this visceral dislike for Kerry is not an uncommon characteristic among the cognoscenti--the truth is, the longer you have to listen to Kerry, the more you just want to make it stop. If I have to hear him appeal to the utterly fictive notion that the French, Germans and Arabs are going to save our bacon in Iraq if only we elect Kerry president, I think I'm going to blow an artery.
And yet, most people who haven't been paying attention (that is, most voters) should not be expected to react to Kerry the way I, Peretz, Mickey Kaus, etc. do. That's why Kerry did so well in Iowa--inexplicably, they saw him as more "presidential" and "electable" than the other candidates, largely because that's how he comes off the first few times you hear him. So I'm applying a VERY high discount rate to my own personal reactions to Kerry where the rest of the campaign is concerned.
That said, my guess is that the Kerry will NOT wear well on the public once, god willing, he is elected. He needs to arrange for a very serious personality and policy transplant, and quick.