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Today's Polls: Remember The Maine?

With the first set of tracking polls out to incorporate at least one full day of post-debate interviewing, there is no indication that John McCain and Sarah Palin have made progress in closing their gap with Barack Obama. In fact, Obama ticked upward in three of the four national tracking polls that published today, although he lost a point in Rasmussen. In addition, Ipsos/McClatchy has come out with a poll showing that the debate moved undecideds slightly toward the Obama ticket, confirming the results of most of the snap polling conducted on Thursday evening.

Beyond that, this is the slowest polling day that we've had in some time. The only fresh state poll out is in Maine, and it's actually a pretty good one for John McCain: Rasmussen has him trailing there by just 5 points, little changed from their survey two weeks ago that had him down 4. Although several recent polls have shown Maine tightening, our model will need additional evidence before it concludes that Maine is any sort of toss-up state, as Obama's polling has been strong there all year and as things are going well for him in the Northeast region (as they usually do for a Democrat). Nevertheless, Maine is a very cheap state to compete in, so our return-on-investment index likes it as a long-shot play; the McCain campaign's decision to commit resources there looks wise.

--Nate Silver