A large population can be dominated by a small group only by persuading all dissenters that they stand alone. Most of their fellow citizens are portrayed as loyal to the regime, and everyone around the dissident is a potential informer. A huge dissident population can therefore be suppressed, by making them believe they’re all lonely voices in the wilderness… until the day they begin realizing they are not alone, and most people don’t support the regime. The process by which dissent becomes seen as commonplace, and eventually overwhelming, is the preference cascade.
. . .
That’s what began happening over the past couple of weeks: a large number of people discovered it’s okay to strongly disapprove of Barack Obama. His popularity has always been buttressed by the conviction – very aggressively pushed by his supporters – that disapproval of his personal or official conduct is immoral. You’re presumptively “racist” if you disagree with him, or at least a greedy tool of the Evil Rich, or a “Tea Party extremist.” --McCain quoting Hayward
It's gradually becoming clear that simple smears of opponents won't hold the "masses" in check.
We see something similar in Wisconsin, where--while there was plenty of enthusiasm and energy for gathering and giving signatures on the recall petition, that enthusiasm has ebbed. Thus, we see Barrett sliming Walker instead of running a campaign based on substance.
The reality--that this is all about Public Employee Unions' selfishness (and feeding the coffers of the Democrat Party)--is crystallizing.
Watch the polling numbers. I don't think they're frozen at a 5-point spread.