We are in the home stretch of an election. Here’s all you need to know:

The state polls are vitally important.

The state polls are meaningless.

Where candidates are spending money tells you where they are vulnerable.

Candidates spend money all over the map at the end if they have it; so ignore the ad buys.

National polls will spot any trend.

National polls can be ignored.

President Obama is in good shape in early voting.

Mitt Romney is in good shape in early voting.

Wisconsin is in play, you can tell, because the candidates are going there.

Wisconsin is in Obama’s pocket because a state poll shows him 8 points ahead.

Nevada is a dead heat.

Obama has Nevada in the bag.

Pennsylvania is a feint by Romney.

No, Pennsylvania really is in play and look out for that Senate race.

Obama is ahead in Ohio.

Romney is tied in Ohio and can win on enthusiasm.

Minnesota could be a surprise.

Minnesota is as deep blue as they come.

Got the picture? Well, don’t worry, none of the pundits really do either. There is some evidence for all of that, but not all of it can be true. We do know a (very) limited number of facts:

Obama is running worse than he did in 2008 virtually everywhere in the country.

Romney is running better than Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) did in 2008 virtually everywhere in the country.

There are a lot more states in play this time than on Nov. 1, 2008.

That’s not going to tell you if Obama will have enough votes to get to 270 electoral votes. He might. But then again, Romney could get there, too.