US News' political history guru Michael Barone discusses the national polling trend and how it currently favors the President, in contrast to conventional wisdom (a phrase renowned for 50% accuracy!) that says late voter decisions favor the challenger. Barone notes the media bias for Kerry (75+ stories on Joseph Wilson and Richard Clarke's false claims in the NY Times, WaPo and major network newscasts, less than 10 on those claims after they were conclusively contradicted) and comes up with this explanation:
Bush's most effective opposition this year has come not from Kerry and the Democrats but from Old Media, the New York Times and the news pages of the Washington Post, along with the broadcast networks ABC, CBS, and NBC. Old Media gave very heavy coverage to stories that tended to hurt Bush—violence in Iraq, Abu Ghraib, the false charges of Richard Clarke and Joseph Wilson, etc. And during the first eight months of the year Bush did a poor job of making his case.
Then, suddenly, that case was made with maximum effectiveness at the Republican National Convention in New York—by John McCain and Rudolph Giuliani, by Zell Miller and Arnold Schwarzenegger, by Laura Bush and Dick Cheney and George W. Bush himself. Bush was able to get his message out unmediated by Old Media. (Fox News Channel had more viewers during the Republican National Convention than any of the old-line broadcast networks.) The message was simple: We need this president to protect the nation.