Hope and change: McCain within three among likely voters in new CBS poll

Who says I never give you good-ish news, eh?

In a sign that the race for president has returned to about where it was before the first presidential debate, the Obama-Biden ticket leads the McCain-Palin ticket 47 percent to 43 percent among registered voters in a new CBS News poll.

The Obama-Biden ticket led by a wider margin, nine percentage points, in a CBS News poll released last Wednesday, before Joe Biden and Sarah Palin faced off in the vice presidential debate. Obama-Biden led by five percentage points on Sept. 25.

In the new poll, the Democratic ticket leads by 3 percentage points, 48 percent to 45 percent, among likely voters.

Does a five-point pickup post-debate mean we’re witnessing a second round of Palinmania? Probably not:

Then again, it’s less important whether a plurality of all voters thinks she won than whether undecideds do. Did she peel any away? Note the trends among independents and Hillary voters (and white voters generally):

And this trend, too:

CBS notes that Obama’s numbers on the economy have dipped slightly, although why that would lead to him shedding Obama voters instead of just pushing indies towards McCain, I’m not sure. All theories welcome. In the meantime, NBC’s out with a new poll too showing The One up four points to lead by six, although this tidbit may explain why Team Maverick thinks there’s advantage in tying Obama to radicals: “The poll suggests that the first African-American to win a major party nomination could be vulnerable to race-based attacks tying him to unpopular black figures such as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor and Al Sharpton, an outspoken and controversial figure. Thirty-five percent of all voters — and 40% of white voters — said those connections bother them. This is absent any candidate or party pressing hard on those themes, something Republicans have hinted they may start to raise more aggressively in the campaign’s closing days.”