I think Michael has a point about the importance of tone, style, voice, image...
This isn't about democrats or republicans, it's about 6th grade classroom politics. Kerry is the kid who did his homework; Bush is the affable slacker. Who does the rest of the class like more? It comes out 50-50.
This election will probably come down to random exigencies like voter-turnout, and tiny victories and losses in swing-states. If Bush wins, he will probably again lose the popular vote. Unless something major happens, I think we are looking at another nail-biter.
Still, I did think Kerry finally made some noises that will energize his base, particularly among women and African-Americans. He'll need that to get people to care a little more.
Then again, maybe none of this matters. Weren't most people watching the Yankees-Red Sox last night? (Fortunately, neither New York nor Massachusetts are swing states! Interesting...)