...shows a small but real tilt to Obama, especially among the independents and undecideds. (Despite the fact that almost all the debate experts called it a drawn or small victory for McCain.) The big reason: Obama came off as a plausible president. So did McCain. But people want change, as long as it’s safe. One important difference between this election and 1980, of course, is that McCain isn’t the incumbent. Not only that, he’s the self-proclaimed maverick who, at this point, contends (as Saturday Night Live mocked last night) that he was a relentlessly severe critic and never a reliable ally of the President Bush. My own view, to repeat, is that that maverick stuff plays pretty well in foreign policy, but doesn’t work very well on the economy etc.