Bill: Everything I read in this thread is based on theory. Unless I'm wrong, nobody here shot any of those images? Besides, "sample images" are like those pre-production cars that car magazines get to drive before the production cars roll off the assembly lines. They offer a pretty good representation of the experience, but they are cherry picked samples, and the production versions are often different.
It just seems silly to debate this issue until there is real field test data to support some of these assertions. To my knowledge, there has never been a new Nikon DSLR that did not surpass the performance of the previous model in the same class, in virtually every area - and low light performance is a very big area. Let's just assume it will, until we find out it doesn't.