A new Gallup polls shows that John McCain may be within 3 percentage points of Barack Obama in the Presidential election.

According to the Gallup national poll of “likely” voters, using the “traditional” model that combines current intentions with past voting records, Obama has 49% of the vote, compared to 46% for McCain.

Gallup conducts three types of daily polls. One of registered voters (50% to 43% for Obama), one of “likely” voters using the above described traditional model, and one of “likely” voters using an expanded model that only takes into account current intentions (52% to 44% for Obama). All three of the polls show a small trend towards McCain this week.

Generally speaking, most reputable pollsters (and, no, the New York Times is NOT a reputable pollster) seem to show a 4 to 8% lead for Obama at this point, down from the double digit highs that he enjoyed last week.

As we reported here, polls need to be taken with a grain of salt, as they generally are intended to make news, rather than reflect the opinions of the electorate. After all, who would pay attention to the pollsters if they didn’t shock us now and then? But since most of the polls are moving in one direction, it’s pretty safe to say that the race has tightened a bit, though Obama is still ahead.