Don’t Call It a Comeback. (No, Seriously. Don’t.)

After a

brutal 12 days in which he hemmorhaged his once-considerable national lead, President Obama got some good news: he’s eked out tiny advantages among likely voters in both the ABC/Washington Post and Politico/GWU polls.

Here’s the takeaway from the first poll:

Likely voters give Obama the edge — by varying margins — on a slew of policy areas: the economy, international affairs, taxes, health care and Medicare. As has been shown by a number of national polls, Romney’s only advantage over the president is with the federal budget deficit. By a 9-point margin, likely voters prefer Obama over Romney to handle an unexpected major crisis.

Fifty-five percent of likely voters said they consider Obama honest and trustworthy, while 41 percent said he is not. Views of Romney on that front are sharply polarized: 47 percent of likely voters said the Republican nominee is honest and trustworthy, compared with 47 percent who said he is not.

And here’s the second:

The president’s lead among likely voters in Monday’s other national survey, the Politico/George Washington University Battleground Poll, is even smaller, 49 percent to 48 percent. That’s identical to the Politico/GWU poll released last week. But while Obama holds a slim lead nationally, Romney claims a small edge across 10 swing states. Among likely voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin, Romney leads Obama by 2 points.

So who’s winning? Nate Silver, who is the master of knowing these things, uh, doesn’t really know.

If the current polls hold, predicting the election outcome will boil down to making a series of educated guesses about the relationship between state and national polls, and between the Electoral College and the popular vote.

There have been plenty of elections before when the outcome was highly uncertain down the stretch run or on Election Day itself. But I am not sure that there has been one where different types of polls pointed in opposite directions. Anyone in my business who is not a bit terrified by this set of facts is either lying to himself — or he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

“I’m off the ledge,” said Andrew Sullivan , who famously freaked out when Obama, his preferred choice, nosedived in the polls. There’s that, at least.

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Gene "G.D." Demby is the founder and editor of PostBourgie. In his day job, he blogs about race and ethnicity for National Public Radio. He is a native of South Philly and reads and writes and runs and rants. You can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to him on Facebook.

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