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The Lid: Where The 2016 Race Stands Three Weeks Out

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos…The Nobel Academy says it hasn't been able to get ahold of Bob Dylan after awarding him its prestigious literature prize last week. We won't be surprised to learn that the legendary musician has cut off all forms of communication in an effort to tune out news about the 2016 election.

'16 from 30,000: Three weeks out from the election, a casual observer of politics could certainly be forgiven for feeling whiplash about what's going on with polling in this election. In particular, Trump is vacillating between touting what he calls his continued success in the polls and saying he doesn't trust polling at all "anymore." A handful of swing state polls have shown tight races that don't seem to reflect overall national polling averages that are very grim indeed for Trump. And plenty of cable and Twitter pundits have launched a number of "anything could happen" arguments, speculating about how and where the race could close.

For comparison's sake, we looked back at the comparable NBC/WSJ poll data from the last election to see how different this year is. (Remember, Obama's 332-206 electoral vote victory over Mitt Romney was hardly considered a squeaker once the results were in.) Here's what we found: In mid-October 2012, Barack Obama and Romney were actually TIED among likely voters, 47-47, while Obama had a five point advantage among registered voters. In our latest NBC/WSJ poll, Trump trails Clinton by 11 among likely voters and 10 among all registered voters. That's … not close.

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

FOR THE RECORD…

"I'd advise Mr. Trump to stop whining and try to go make his case to get votes."

-- President Obama responding to Trump's allegations that the election will be rigged.

TOMORROW'S SKED

Debate Day! The third and final presidential debate begins at 9 p.m. ET in Las Vegas.

Tim Kaine attends early vote rallies in Ohio and North Carolina. Mike Pence is in Colorado.