You guys are poll-savvy enough by now to know that samples of likely voters always skew a bit more Republican than samples of registereds, so what we’re looking at here is a de facto tie race at worst. Rasmussen has it 47/45 for Romney today; Gallup’s sample, screened for likelies, would probably be right in line with that.

Here’s what a textbook “bounce” looks like on a graph:

No way to know if O would have deflated that quickly under normal circumstances or if his inexcusable negligence in failing to provide security for the Benghazi consulate blunted his momentum, but that’s where we are right now. More from Rick Wilson, who argues that there is indeed a campaign that’s in trouble — but it ain’t Romney’s:

Of the dozen or so Romney gaffes in the primary and beyond, each has been greeted by a media more intent on declaring it to be the fatal moment. Each time, Romney grinds along, pushing through and moving forward…

Barack Obama is running against Mitt Romney, and against a domestic economy in almost existential peril and from an Arab world sinking into chaos and darkness from Algiers to Aleppo, and from two of the world’s economic superpowers about to start a hot war in the Pacific and from his “good war” in Afghanistan warming up to become a genocide at the hands of the Taliban as American troops inevitably withdraw, their decade of sacrifice and heroism squandered…

Any one of those examples can break, suddenly and terribly, and end Obama’s campaign tomorrow…

No matter what video of Mitt Romney at a fundraiser emerges, the process stories it generates won’t be a part of Americas cultural memory, much less be decisive in this campaign.

If you doubt whether Wilson’s skepticism about major “gaffes” is warranted, go look at the graph John Sides put together showing how the polls moved after each alleged rhetorical screw-up in the race thus far — Obama’s “you didn’t build that,” Romney’s Libya comments, etc. There’s no movement in response to any of them except for Romney on Libya, and the movement there was towards Romney because Obama’s bounce had already started to fade. The obvious caveat here: Romney’s “47 percent” remarks could be different, either on their own merits (he currently owns a fair chunk of the vote among the lowest-income voters) or because the media will flog them relentlessly in hopes of giving Obama a decisive permanent advantage in the race. No way to tell yet if it’ll work, but we’ll probably have some sense from the daily trackers by Friday. The closest thing I can give you to actual data right now is this, which is highly unscientific — but also interesting.

Exit question: What will these polls look like in three weeks, after Romney starts leveraging his massive cash advantage? Says Business Insider: “The past few weeks of Mediocre Mitt are about to end. He’s got more resources than the Obama campaign, and his ability to find cheap media markets and flex his muscle are just coming to the fore. This, plus a few more bad economic months, and he’s in the White House.”