Something to cleanse the palate while we wait for Paul Ryan to attack the Death Star in Kentucky. All of you already knew that Hamill is a liberal, yes? (So much so that the story of the haircut that Romney forced on a classmate in high school appears to weigh heavily in his electoral calculations.) If not, here’s a rule of thumb that will serve you well: Virtually everyone associated with “Star Wars” is an out-and-proud leftist. There may be a Jawa somewhere in the cast who votes libertarian, but opinion among the major players appears to be as varied as storm troopers’ uniforms. In fairness to Hamill, though, O is a bit like Obi-Wan: He performs mind tricks on dull-witted apparatchiks; he leaves his underlings equipped to defend themselves with little more than the Force; and judging from the polls lately, it looks like he’s headed for an early exit from the movie. It’s Cenk, however, who’s right about Biden. He’s much more like Chewbacca than Uncle Owen — primitive yet loyal, and not ineffective when the chips are down.

Speaking of O’s early exit, and in the interest of redeeming this dumb post with actual information, go look at today’s Gallup tracker. Romney bounced out to a two-point lead after O’s Denver debacle but then slid back into a tie yesterday, raising the question of whether his surge was a bounce that would soon fade or something more enduring. Today’s result: Romney back up by a point. Not smoking-gun proof of durability, but a promising sign. Also promising:

Republican rival Mitt Romney picked up 3 points to lead U.S. President Obama 49 percent to 46 percent, a United Press International poll indicated Thursday.

Romney’s lead, which was within the poll’s 4.5 percentage-point margin of error, was based on a national survey taken by UPI-CVoter pollsters in the days following the first presidential debate.

It is the first time Romney has had the lead since the UPI poll began this election cycle.

Of the last seven national polls taken, Romney leads in five, is tied in one, and trails Obama — by a single point — in the other, which is, er, Rasmussen’s. Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball calculus just moved Virginia from “leans Democrat” to “toss-up” and Florida from “toss-up” to “leans Republican,” and Susequhanna’s pollster tells Guy Benson that Pennsylvania might be more competitive than you think. The Romney campaign is also poised to outspend Obama on ads this week, the first time that’s happened in the course of campaign. The Force is strong with this one.