Don’t follow the bouncing poll, Part Two

A Newsweek poll showing Obama leading McCain by 3 percentage points is generating some buzz. That’s because the previous Newsweek poll had Obama up by 15 points.

As we contended at the time, however, the spread reflected in that earlier Newsweek poll lacked credibility. Thus, the disappearance of that spread should not be considered significant.

The two polls I watch most closely — the Gallup and Rasmussen tracking polls — continue to show a tight race that isn’t changing much. Throughout July, Gallup has had Obama at around 47 percent and McCain at around 43. That’s just about what the same tracking poll generally showed last month, though McCain pulled even briefly.

Rasmussen shows a little bit of movement in McCain’s favor. When “leaners” are included, Obama is holding steady at 47-48 percent, but McCain has edged up from about 44 percent to 47 percent over the past week.

The 3 point Obama lead in the latest Newsweek poll is well in line with Gallup and Rasmussen, and accurately reflects, I think, where the race stands, where it has been recently, and where it’s likely to stay for a while.

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