The man who ushered in a new era of rock star politics, who brought us hope and change, who spoke to packed stadiums during his first presidential run, is suffering a popularity crisis of late.

From the New York Post:

Top aides on President Obama’s re-election team are terrified that there will be scores of empty seats when he makes his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, party insiders said.

Obama, once the biggest draw in politics, won’t likely attract crowds as large as those at the 2008 convention because voters have gone sour on the poor economy, insiders said.

“It’s always a concern about making sure there aren’t empty seats, but this is different,” said one Democratic official familiar with the convention plans.

“This is a different time than four years ago. It’s a different convention. And the president is viewed differently.”

The biggest difference between now and 2008 is that Obama actually has a resume, a body of work, and it doesn’t look good – economically or otherwise.

Worse, most of the empty seats at the convention will actually belong to fellow Democrats.

There may be some extra hotel space in Charlotte, N. C. come the beginning of September, as several Democratic elected officials have announced that they will not be attending the Democratic National Convention this year.

Earlier today, Talking Points Memo reported that Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill will not be attending the convention, becoming the third Democratic senator, and eighth Democratic member of Congress, to opt out of the event.

Late Tuesday she tweeted, ” Whole lot of nothing over me campaigning w/Mo folks instead of going to convention w/party honchos. Bet POTUS agrees with my decision.”

Several of the elected officials who have decided to forgo the convention hail from places where Obama is unpopular; West Virginia’s Democratic House Rep. Nick Rahall, Sen. Joe Manchin and its governor,  Earl Ray Tomblin,  have all announced they’re not going. Obama’s low popularity in the state is perhaps best exemplified by the strong performance of prison inmate Keith Russell Judd in the state’s Democratic presidential primary. Other elected Democrats not going  include Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah and Sen. Jon Tester of Montana.

And we’re supposed to believe recent polling that over-samples Democrats at a 10% or 11% clip?  The enthusiasm gap in favor of Mitt Romney is tremendous, while Hope and Change has fizzled.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen…