Here’s the start of that Obama bump, per Gallup. It ain’t gonna be 15 points by the time of the convention, but there are some in McCain’s world who legitimately believe that McCain will NEVER be ahead in the popular vote (but will still win the election.)
For one thing, I agree with Josh Patashnik that the popular and electoral votes are less likely to diverge in this manner than many people believe. But for another thing, isn’t it pretty shocking for a campaign to be that pessimistic about its odds? If I were running for president, I’d want the people who work for me to be thinking “once the American people hear our message and learn the truth about our opponent, they’re bound to swing to our side.” You don’t want your staff to be totally divorced from reality, but a little optimism never killed anyone.