Ed Kilgore is right that the Red team is reading more into a couple of good (for them) polling results than is really there. But it’s also fair to say that some of us (I’m looking at you, Kleiman) seem in retrospect to have been a tad over-sanguine about the damage level from the first debate. I’d rather be playing Axelrod’s hand than Stuart Stevens’s – the RAND and Gallup trackers show Obama +4, and the President is still about a 2:1 favorite on the betting sites – but the odds on disaster have noticeably shortened.

It would help if Biden did a job on Ryan; the Veep’s cheerful pugnacity might be more effective in debating a gold-plated liar than the POTUS’s polite, professorial manner.

But of course none of that is in our control. How much work we do, and how much money we give, between now and Election Day is.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

Mark Kleiman

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the New York University Marron Institute.