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Today's Polls: Eye Of The Storm

There are more important things to worry about than the state of the horse race today, but several polling firms have released data within the past 24 hours. Barack Obama maintains a 6-point lead in the Gallup tracker (although both candidates gained a point against undecided), and a 3-point lead in the Rasmussen tracker. CNN shows it a bit tighter still, with Obama holding a 2-point lead with third party candidates included an a 1-point lead without. Finally, there is a hot-off-the-presses CBS News poll showing Obama 8 points ahead.

Really, I think we're best off ignoring the polls until about the middle of next week. I could see any of a number of things happening over the course of the Republican Convention. Perhaps Obama will maintain his (small) bounce if the Sarah Palin selection has already brought home the base votes that the Republicans were hoping to win during the convention. Perhaps McCain will deliver a dramatic acceptance speech against the backdrop of Hurricane Gustav and move several points ahead. Perhaps the election will revert to a tie.

My hunch, however, is that once everything settles down, we are going to see that Obama has gained a couple of points from the convention cycle and will have something like a 2-4 point national lead. The reason is simply that the Democrats seemed to "find their voice" during their convention, bringing home a bread-and-butter message about the failures of the status quo, whereas the Republicans will be forced to retool theirs in the wake of Gustav and the Palin selection.

--Nate Silver