Hope and change: Obama 44, McCain 42, says new AP poll

How biased is the AP’s spin of the data? So biased that the bombshell topline result, which drew banner treatment on Drudge a few hours ago as a rebuke to the CW about an impending Obama landslide, isn’t even mentioned in the story. To find out that it’s 44/42, you have to download the PDF and pore through the crosstabs. For ease of reference:

The “waves” reflect the fact that the poll was conducted over 10 days, from October 3 to October 13. Here’s the sample over time, showing a huge 13-point lean towards the Dems in wave eight. Michael Barone thinks the actual spread among voters is probably eight or nine points, which means McCain might in fact be doing even better than the new data indicates:

Wave seven, which would have been sampled around a week ago, has a 12-point Democratic spread and a two-point lead for McCain, at a moment when virtually every other poll in the country was showing Obama up by five or six points. Make of it what you will.

Rasmussen and Gallup? Still four points and two points among likelies, respectively, although Gallup’s “expanded” model puts it at six. Exit question: Is Geraghty right? (Exit answer: Probably not.)