So here's the problem: the Democrats are whacking the hell out of each other, spending money they'd like to spend on John McCain, and McCain has acres of room to stretch and mark his territory.
The DNC has labored mightily to fill the breach, with daily e-mails to reporters, conference calls, research hits -- and now a focus group report. The DNC spoke to (presumably undecided) voters in Minnesota and West Virginia. Read the DNC's memo here.
What I found most interesting, in part because it hasn't yet really come up in the context of the general election:
Women panelists in the focus groups reacted surprisingly strongly to the fact that Senator McCain opposes requirements for health plans to provide contraceptive coverage and favors abstinence-only sex education. Even among women who described themselves as pro-life, those aspects of Senator McCain’s record cast him as someone who is “unrealistic,” “out of touch,” and “stuck in the past.” Many of the women in the groups were resentful when they learned that Senator McCain favors overturning Roe vs. Wade, and were disappointed because they expected him to be more moderate on this issue.
The memo concludes in boldface:
Perhaps the biggest threat to John McCain that emerged from our focus groups is the damage he inflicted on his “independent” image and reputation for “straight talk” by shifting his positions to make them more acceptable to the conservative wing of his party.