In 1976, Jimmy Carter took a 33-point summer lead over President Gerald Ford and won in a photo finish. In 1988, Michael Dukakis led George H.W. Bush by 17 points after being nominated in Atlanta before he lost the election. Al Gore and John Kerry were ahead of George W. Bush in the summer.
Novak notes that Obama's numbers, despite his lead, have remained below the 50% level, suggesting he is far from closing the deal with voters. This suggests to Novak that McCain could still back into a win despite the lousy campaign he is running. This will be Novak's last column for awhile. He announced today he has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. This may explain the confused state he seemed to be in last week when he was cited by D.C. police for striking a pedestrian and driving away. Press coverage of this year's presidential race just won't be the same with Tim Russert and now Robert Novak gone from the day-to-day coverage.