There's an interesting article by Susan Estrich, Democrat strategist and campaign manager for Dukakis in 1988, on why Barak Obama isn't ahead more in the race for president. She's nervous he' not doing better in a year when Democrats, generally, should do very well. Why is that? Race, inexperience, liberalness are some she mentions.
With an uncertain international world and now domestic scene, the poor economy, I think people are going to look for their next president to be a stable force. Some one with experience. Who's been tested. Despite his weaknesses, McCain has been through it. Usually when the economy goes sour, the party in power is in trouble. So one would expect that to benefit Obama. However, the uncertainly will make character and leadership a bigger concern than simply voting for change.
I've always viewed Obama as either a rising star or a shooting star. I think he maybe the latter when the rubber meets the road of an intense presidential campaign. He's already been playing both sides on a number of issues. He's been wrong on critical issues like the surge in Iraq. And he's very liberal, which will make him less appealing when the American people get a closer look at him. That doesn't mean he'll won't win in November, but I wouldn't bet on it if I was a betting man.