The Gallup tracking poll has Obama up by 8; the Rasmussen track has Obama up 6; the Hotline tracking poll has Obama up 5. These tracking polls average the results from Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Assuming they are measuring the same thing, they suggest Obama has unquestionably benefited from the political-financial crisis in Washington last week, that McCain’s campaign-suspension was a bust, and that Friday night’s debate was pretty close to a draw. (Registered voters, according to Gallup, seem to have preferred Obama a little bit.)

The only possible silver lining for McCain in a trend line like this is that given the nature of the financial horrorshow now being visited upon us, Obama probably ought to be doing a great deal better. But if Rasmussen is right, and the number of Americans who think the country is on the right track has fallen to 11 percent, the headwinds into which McCain are sailing will pose the greatest challenge for a presidential candidate in a generation to overcome.