Even if not perfectly politically aligned with a particular voter, Obama presents several factors with which McCain cannot compete, the largest being "sex appeal". Despite the fact, most will not consciously admit that such a thing could possibly be a motivator for their vote for such an important office, psychologically, it is unavoidable and powerful.
A recent article in The Nation said, "Barack and Michelle Obama channel some of the style of the current early-'60s revival--sleeveless sheaths and chunky pearls, Ocean's 11 and Mad Men--without the alienation. America, they say, you can be cool and sexy again, "back!" and swinging, but secure this time. Those "excesses" of the '60s that Barack mentioned, those family fractures across the demographic board, they can all be resolved through hot married love."
Clearly, this is reflective of a deep attraction that many Americans share. Much like some of Hollywood's top stars, it is the kind of sex appeal that crosses many borders, both geographically and psychologically. Obama is old enough that young men don't feel threatened. He is young enough that old men can admire his virility and obtain a vicarious thrill. And because he is married to an attractive woman and he expresses a clear sense of family values and religiosity, even moderate Christians have no basis for accusations of sexual opportunism, while the right wing can find nothing true over which to judge him, at least of a sexual nature. As for women, gay and bisexual men (even those who simply fantasize), Obama's attraction is self-evident.
The fact he is black, it goes without saying, but I will say it, conjures certain stereotypes that cannot possibly hurt. He sizes up in every category, at least in the voter's imagination.
All of this reasoning stands firm even without considering his opponent. However, McCain couldn't possibly be in a worse position to compete with these factors. McCain's only sex appeal is his wife, and that certainly makes most voters wonder why a beautiful women like Cindy, would favor him sexually. He is a walking poster child for Viagra, which is probably why he shied away from questions given him earlier about Viagra versus birth control. No doubt he has lost the sexual stamina he might have had as a young man. This perception of impotence inevitably parallels a sense of political impotence. Just add to that, McCain's numerous "senior moments", and it is no wonder. The same would never be suggested about Obama.
America seems to secretly admire virility in its politicians, while outwardly condemning it. There seems to be no other explanation for the incredible support Clinton enjoyed while he was otherwise being impeached for his poor sexual judgment. Deep down, most people understand naughty urges , because almost everyone has had them. Europeans are more comfortable with a conscious recognition of this, but Americans at least still pretend to disdain sex while simply doing it or fantasizing about it while watching various entertainers.
Politicians, unlike other entertainers, are highly sexual beings. Anyone who has ever worked on a political campaign can tell you about the sexual attraction to power. When we add to the power, objectively powerful bases, Obama's physicality, intellect, smile, generally gentle yet bold demeanor and his race; it is no wonder many people feel a tingle that may cloud their other political motivations.