Several polls released today show that Barack Obama is increasing his national lead over John McCain, and is making significant strides in key battleground states. In states like New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, Obama is ahead by 3 to 12 percent, according to numbers compiled by the Washington Post and Time. The race is neck and neck in conservative North Carolina, and Obama is gaining on McCain even in solidly red Indiana, where he's trailing by about five points. The Wall Street Journal reports that much of this is due, unsurprisingly, to the financial crisis — a six-point nationwide lead is largely attributed to the voters feeling more reassured by the Obama-Biden ticket than the McCain-Palin one.
The above polls were taken at the end of last week and over the weekend, so they don't yet reflect voter reaction to the mudslinging that began on Sunday. But don't expect McCain to wait until he sees the results before he takes the gloves off in tonight's town-hall debate in Nashville. As Nate Silver observed, "John McCain is facing third and long — and appears that he's about to get sacked." Time for another Hail Mary?