One thin percent is all that’s left of the lead, putting him back where he was on July 17 before Peace Tour ’08 kicked off. Remember, Gallup put out conflicting polls a few days ago, one showing Barry O ahead comfortably among a big sample of registered voters and McCain, surprisingly, holding a four-point lead among a smaller sample of likelies. The thinking at the time was that the data would probably align a bit more over the next few days. Which it’s doing — but not in the way most people expected.

That’s not the only good poll news, either. Obama’s leads in Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania are also down, and are within the margin of error in the first two states. And according to Rasmussen, 30% of conservative Democrats already intend to vote for Maverick, which isn’t an especially impressive number when you consider that only 18% of Dems overall identify as “conservative” but bodes well, perhaps, for future gains in the center as Barry’s glow fades. The usual caveat that it’s still too early to read much into any of these still applies, but surely they mean something given (a) the sky-high expectations for Obamamania coming out of the primary, (b) the Democrats’ huge generic advantage this year, (c) the fact that Republicans traditionally trail by a decent margin at this point in the campaign, and (d) most bizarrely, the conventional wisdom that McCain’s had an exceedingly crappy 10 days or so of campaigning. Your exit question, then: What’s going on? Are the negative ads more effective than anyone realizes? Did the skipped troop visit at Landstuhl resonate more widely than thought? Or is the perception of presumptuousness starting to grate? That last point hasn’t been declared racist by Minitruth yet, but it’s only a matter of time. Herewith, then, a journey into racism with David Letterman: