A Pew Survey this summer found that two-thirds of people thought the 2012 election would be “exhausting” and 63 percent called it “annoying,” while only 41 percent of independents said the race would be “exciting.”…

In early September, Obama started to pull away from his GOP rival. And arguably the most fascinating storyline of the race, its closeness, started to fade away.

But Mitt Romney’s spirited performance in the first presidential debate has injected new life not just into his White House aspirations, but the campaign as a whole. Recent weeks have seen a flood of support at campaign rallies and events, major upticks in donations to the campaigns, and a new electricity to a once joyless 2012 campaign…

“The first debate was clearly a watershed moment,” said Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons. “It brought home a number of Republicans who might have been on the fence. And for Democrats, it’s shaken us out of our overconfidence stupor, and people realized this is going to be a tough fight.”