There are some obvious differences between now and then. 2000 was a time of peace, prosperity and talk of a certain White House intern. 2012 is one of economic and international insecurity.
Even so, 2012 and 2000 feature similar voter angst: do they stick with a status quo in which they aren't entirely happy or pick an unknown and untested challenger. In focus groups and in face-to-face discussions with swing voters, you can hear the tension clearly.
Voters aren't entirely happy with the president's handling of the economy and don't feel like he lived up to his promise to change the tone of Washington.
Yet, they also don't know much about Mitt Romney. And, what they have heard -- in TV ads and press coverage -- hasn't impressed them all that much.
They are really hoping that the debates will give them an unvarnished and unscripted look at the two men. And, ultimately give them some answers.
This is why, despite what the polls and the pundits say, this race is far from over.