The Convention dust appears to have settled, leaving us with a close race and a slight Obama lead - probably narrower than before the conventions and the remarkable rise of Sarah Palin as McCain's muse. Palin has effectively consolidated McCain's formerly unenthusiastic conservative support and appears to be drawing votes from some moderates who would like to see a woman in the office regardless of her politics.
A factor of interest that makes the polling even harder to read it the increasing level of media bias in the election. Where CNN maintains a modest, sufficient level of journalistic objectivity, Fox's talk shows and even some Fox anchors have always been unabashedly and unapologetically in support of the Republican agenda. Yet now we find a similar kind of zealotry on MSNBC, especially with Rachel Maddow Kieth Olberman whose partisanship is giving right winger Sean Hannity a run for his ideologically influenced journalistic money.
The challenge for the viewer is that the poll numbers are getting reported differently - so much so that today we have MSNBC reporting Obama in the lead and Fox reporting McCain, each probably overweighting their own problematic sampling methods. As usual RealClearPolitics is a great way to cut through the chatter with a great summary of all major polls and the RCP running average, which I'd suggest is the best way to determine what's going on nationally.