Democrats are gathering for their party convention in Denver, Colorado as the election campaign shifts up a gear.
Here eight Democratic voters from across the US look ahead to the convention and reflect on the state of the party and their candidate Barack Obama.
Real estate agent | Democrat
Obama' success helps to dent the stereotypical image of black men
"I want the party to leave the convention rejuvenated, revived and ready for a new chapter in the history of America.
Lives: District Heights, Maryland
Occupation: Consultant and real estate agent
Last election voted: Democrat
In 10 words or less: A mother, independent, cultured, spiritually aware, a realist, tasteful, humble and honest
I want the Democratic Party's agenda clearly defined.
I feel Democrats appear more divided than they really are - I'm sure we will see Hillary supporters falling behind Obama during the convention.
The most important issues for me are the economy, US dependence on oil and the environment. I also want to see troops coming home from the war in Iraq.
Obama is a great candidate. His success so far helps to dent the stereotypical image of black men. They're not all criminals and rappers - they're doctors, lawyers and will be presidents too!
For some African Americans his candidacy has given a sense of belonging and acceptance.
And it will send a signal to African Americans who are tarnishing the image of race that negative behaviour will no longer be tolerated or accepted.
I'm confident that Obama will win but I'm also nervous about what tricks the Republican Party has up its sleeve.
Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, has that much-needed experience in foreign relations. But the Republicans are going to eat him alive. He's been very vocal in the past and I'm sure McCain's team will be looking for something he's said that could be damaging to Obama's campaign.
This country needs a leader who will act as a servant of the people. We need change and I believe Barack Obama represents that change."
I believe that racism and bigotry is not just an American problem but an international one as well. What a wonderful accomplishment it would be for America to take the lead in showing just how far we have come by electing someone not because he's black, but because he has the ability to bring people together. Kudos Tammika on points well made.
Ronald, Baltimore, MD
Yes, I agree with your points. There are many challenging issues that must be addressed and some changes that must be made going forward. I will vote for change.
Romon, Washington, DC
Win he will! Nevertheless what he has done thus far has empowered every man to now take responsibility for there success, their future. No more excuses!
Bernard, Suitland, MD
Whether they care to admit it or not, the refusal of Democrats and Independents to support Mr Obama highlights the fact that too many Americans are not concerned about whether a black man or woman is a criminal, rapper, doctor, lawyer or presidential candidate. The fact that the person is black makes him or her "unworthy". As long as Americans continue to shamelessly and transparently define every person by his race, we will continue to embarrass ourselves worldwide. We desperately need change. We need Barack Obama.
Gwen, Washington, DC
The readers' panel has been selected from as wide a cross-section of people as possible and may not be representative of wider US public opinion.