Polls, polls and more polls. Always remember polls are simply snapshots of a very long and continually changing process. Certainly they can give you a sense of a trend towards one candidate or another but they cannot tell you the outcome. On Monday night during the Cowboys/Bears game if you would have only been exposed to thirty pictures of the contest you may have come up with the right answer but you could very well have been wrong too and that is the great danger in this year's Presidential contest.
There have been hundreds of national and state polls in this cycle, many more than in any previous contest. People on both sides go crazy over a shift of a point or two when we're still about five weeks out from the election and that's simply unwise. Certainly the President has some kind of small lead (perhaps two or three points) but that's not enough to call the election for him. I would suggest that we all take a breather, wait until next Tuesday and then really start looking at the trend lines. That way we can take in the polling after tonight's debate, let the holiday weekend go by and see if it had an impact (if any) on the election. There are still about fifteen percent of voters who are truly undecided or who may switch their vote and that is enough to give the President or Mitt Romney a victory.
Right now I would say the President's maximum percentage he could get in this election is right around 50%; that's a point or two above his approval rating. He's not going to come close to the 52.9% he received last time as political independents have shifted so clearly against him. He can still eke out a victory against a weak Republican candidate but again we should wait until next week before we really start to size up the race.