Poll Magic – USAT/Gallup has McCain up by 4

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More than 40 days and nights have passed since a credible polling outfit released a survey showing John McCain with even the smallest of leads in a national horserace poll. Now USA Today has a poll with Gallup that puts the Republican up by four points over Obama among likely voters. “Say again?” you ask. “Didn’t the Gallup daily tracking poll have Obama up by eight points today and nine points yesterday – the Democrat’s largest lead and one that presumably reflects a bounce from his successful overseas excursion?

Yes and yes. The new USAT/Gallup poll is a one-off survey not related to the outfit’s daily tracking poll. Based on the other polling out there — all of it showing Obama with a single-digit lead — this one is probably an outlier. But it does reflect the fact that this race is far from over.