Biden faces challenge of life as Trump closes gap
The big question for Joe Biden is whether or not he can get voters excited about anything other than the fact that he isn't Donald Trump.
With COVID forcing a rewrite of the presidential election campaign handbook, Democrats began their convention with an ambitious, prime-time Zoom call.
It featured a series of former rivals who had fought him hard through the primary campaigns as well as some figures who are being talked about as the future of the Democratic Party.
They included New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is enjoying bafflingly high approval ratings despite the fact his state's response is, by the numbers, among the country's worst.
It's not yet clear whether day one's high point, in the searing indictment former First Lady Michelle Obama gave of her husband's successor, will prompt a Biden bump.
It's also not clear whether reports that Mr Biden and his wife had an affair while she was still married to her first husband will have any impact. But it does seem doubtful given the fact Mr Trump's own public dalliances haven't seemed to hurt him.
What is clear is that a re-energised Trump has started closing the gap in polling over the past week and will continue in coming days a series of lightning visits to key states in an effort to steal the spotlight.
Mr Trump is still hovering at the 40 per cent approval he has held to throughout his term, but the numbers that should worry Democrats are around what is motivating registered voters in a new CNN poll.
Rather than excitement about a potential Biden administration, which just 32 per cent voters are enthusiastic about, some 59 per cent of voters said their vote was all about Mr Trump.
About a third (29 per cent) were voting against Trump and 30 per cent were voting for him.
With one of the biggest challenges for presidential campaigns getting people out to the polls, this lack of passion could point to a lacklustre turnout for Mr Biden.
And this is where Mrs Obama sought to land her hardest punch, reminding her audience that Mr Trump lost the popular vote in 2016 by almost three million votes, with a paper-thin margin in some of the states that handed him the electoral college.
"We have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it," she said.
"We have to vote for Joe Biden in numbers that cannot be ignored."
Originally published as Biden faces challenge of life as Trump closes gap