National Polls Show McCain-Obama Within Three Points of Each Other.

No, not just a Zogby poll (sometimes too optimistic for our side); Reuters and C-Span also participated. I’m hoping that means the methodology was reasonably balanced. The good news: margin of error is 2.9 points on this.

So we’re in a dead heat.

Of course, I need to go back and check on the Electoral College: I know the state-by-state widget I’ve been using on the sidebar at my own blog is based from the traditional practice of oversampling Democrats, so I should probably ditch it for something better. (Something that’s less demoralizing to most of my readership.) This one at Real Clear Politics is just as bad, but it’s a great one for keeping track of the “toss-up” states, where those of us who can travel need to concentrate our efforts.

Irrespective, this election is going to be close, which means that minimizing fraud and keeping the turnout high are key. Remember the old Hugh Hewitt line: “if it isn’t close, they can’t cheat.”

Democrat Barack Obama’s lead over Republican John McCain in the presidential race has dropped to 3 points, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Sunday.

Obama leads McCain by 48 to 45 percent among likely U.S. voters, down 1 percentage point from Saturday. The four-day tracking polll . . . has a margin of error of 2.9 points.

Pollster John Zogby said the numbers were good news for McCain, and probably reflected a bump following his appearance in the third and final presidential debate on Wednesday.

“For the first time in the polling McCain is up above 45 percent. There is no question something has happened,” Zogby said.

He said the Arizona senator appeared to have solidified his support with the Republican base — where 9 out of 10 voters now back him — and was also gaining ground among the independents who may play a decisive role in the November 4 election.

Obama’s lead among independent voters dropped to 8 points on Sunday from 16 points a day earlier.

‘RED FLAGS’

“If that trend continues, it is something that has got to raise red flags for Obama,” Zogby said. “It suggests to me that his outward look of confidence may be as much strategy as it is real.”

Other national polls have given Obama a double-digit overall lead, fueled by perceptions he would do a better job managing the faltering economy and unhappiness with McCain’s attacks on him over the past week.

But he has cautioned his supporters against overconfidence and most polls now put his lead in single digits.

Obama, 47, who would be the first black president, enjoys strong support among black, Hispanic, Catholic and Jewish voters while the 72-year-old McCain holds a narrower lead among male and white voters.

Women, who are expected to be an important factor in the election, still favor Obama by a 6-point margin, although this has been declining in recent days.

It’s weird, what happens when you out yourself as a socialist. And when your running-mate is out-drawn by his opposite number by a 4:1 ratio, that can’t help but be a little bit embarrassing.

Vote, no matter what. Vote, even if you live in a solid blue/red state like I do, or if you still haven’t reconciled yourself to the McCain/Palin ticket; we still need to hear your voice on legislators and initiatives, bond measures and the like. (CalTech Girl tells me that Halloween is usually “Initiative Weekend” in her family—they get together and read all the initiatives and bond measures. They do it out loud, but we might not do it that way here, since my husband and I nearly came to blows over California’s Proposition 8.)

If your state is still solidly blue, a robust showing in the red counties will make the other side sweat, and vice versa. Turn your state purple for democracy!

Halloween is probably also the weekend to run over your legislators’ records, so you aren’t just using the voter guides sent out by your pet group (whether it’s NRA or the local GOP’s slate) for that kind of thing. Particularly given the work Congress and Senate have ahead of them (passing laws, or–my preference–overturning ’em) in order to save the economy, we need to do our homework there.

It’s probably better to vote early in the day, rather than late, but I’ve never managed it. If you vote after work, don’t get “Florida Panhandled”: if you don’t have the mental discipline to keep the news from affecting whether or not you make it to the polls, it’s better to have a “media blackout day” in case some states are “accidentally” called early at some news desks.

To be honest, I think a lot of states will “accidentally” be called early and incorrectly this time. We cannot listen. We cannot.

Most of us will be better-served by keeping the radio off, and the TV off for that one day until we’ve gotten home from the polls.

Obama is out-spending McCain about four to one at this point. If he doesn’t win in a landslide (which he will not), it’s going to make him look a bit bad.

All we need do is turn the screw one more notch, and he will lose.

(Adapted/updated from a post at Little Miss Attila.)

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