When I first started blogging, earlier this year, I made the mistake of linking to every single poll that came out. We won't be doing that anymore. I've concluded that polls--and especially national polls--are only part of the picture when it comes to a national race. But my hunch is there are a bunch of us here longing to play David Axelrod. So let's have at it.

Megan thinks Obama is in trouble because McCain is up by almost three points in the RCP average. Maybe. I think comparing Obama and McCain right after the Republican convention is a bad idea. Moreover, I think national polls are a bad idea in a system that basically is a state by state race. A candidate's lead in the national poll doesn't neccesarily mean he's flipping battleground states. Just as likely, he could just gaining meaningless, entrenched support in states he already owned.Which is one of the reasons, I'm going to go with Nate on this, who after looking at six battleground states concludes:

At a macro level, these numbers seem like basically good news for Obama, since the overall numbers in swing states haven't moved much at all - just shifted around some from region to region. McCain is polling about 3 points better right now than he was at the pre-convention equilibrium. It's possible that those 3 points are manifesting themselves mostly in states that were already very red. Maybe Obama will lose Idaho and Nebraska and Alabama by 30 points rather than 20, but that doesn't help McCain very much electorally (an exception might be in a state like Indiana).

In other words, I suspect that the probability of Obama winning the electoral college while losing the popular vote probably increased as a result of the post-convention dynamics. If you literally just looked at the polling out today, McCain would win the popular vote by 2-3 points, but Obama would probably be at least even money in the electoral college, by just barely holding onto Michigan and Pennsylvania and then either winning the Colorado/Iowa/New Mexico parlay, or perhaps Florida.

It's important that that is a very very qualified answer. McCain could still win this thing. But liberals need to be careful about assuming that they're watching Al Gore and John Kerry on loop.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.