MSNBC's First Read has an interesting look at polls and TV ads:
National polls show movement, but any party operative would rather see reliable battleground state numbers, as the folks at Gallup know. An accompanying USA Today story reads, "A USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll shows a remarkable turnaround in 17 battleground states where polls and historic trends indicate the race will be close, and where the Bush campaign has aired TV ads... portraying Kerry as a tax-hiking, flip-flopping liberal."
"The ads have been one factor in wiping away an inflated lead Kerry held in those states... In contrast, there has been much less volatility in states where the ads haven't aired. Kerry held a 4-point lead in them in February; Bush holds a 2-point lead now."
Everyone who gripes about the tone of modern elections -- and I'm sometimes one of them -- needs to remember that negative ads work.