Mike Murphy, in brief, predicts that the media will see a surge for Kerry after the first debate.
"A sure bet in this campaign is that the media will write a big October comeback story for John Kerry. It is evitable for three reasons. First, the media works in a pack that is happiest when following a simple narrative. Second, from moribund to miracle campaigner is Kerry’s tiresome myth turned worn-out cliché. Third, this is indeed a tight race and--as with any incumbent seeking reelection--the undecided vote will break heavily against Bush, which will make Kerry look like he is surging late. (Even hapless Michael Dukakis had such a late surge.)
The signs of this pending storyline are already apparent in the coverage of Kerry’s new team of savvy advisors. Their decision to bet the entire Kerry campaign on a debate over the Iraq war--a strategic suicide note in my view--is the required "big move" such stories demand and is being applauded as a masterstroke. This is where narrative and reality truly differ. If President Bush wins this campaign, the decision to focus the entire Kerry campaign on a debate over the war, instead of on domestic issues, will be a key ingredient to the president’s success. Kerry’s mistake is that it is impossible to have a serious campaign-winning political victory over the administration without a serious policy difference between the two. Howard Dean had a policy difference with the Bush administration on Iraq; Kerry essentially does not."