I think Nate is doing some of the best analysis of the current electoral map, and today he makes a critical point: despite all the hype and attention that Palin has given to the McCain ticket, the electoral math is for the most part unchanged from the pre-convention period. Palin has brought home those Republicans who didn’t really believe McCain was one of them, but the McCain bounce in the polls is greatest in states where he is already popular. As a result, the electoral college math (which is what really matters, so resist the urge to worry about national daily tracking numbers) is tightening, but still slightly in Obama’s favor.

My best guess would be that the debates become rather important in this environment, as its the last chance to build any buzz and capture national attention.