The Republican National Convention has given John McCain and his party a significant boost, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken over the weekend shows, as running mate Sarah Palin helps close an "enthusiasm gap" that has dogged the GOP all year. ...
In the new poll, taken Friday through Sunday, McCain leads Obama by 54%-44% among those seen as most likely to vote. The survey of 1,022 adults, including 959 registered voters, has a margin of error of +/— 3 points for both samples.
Among the findings:
• Before the convention, Republicans by 47%-39% were less enthusiastic than usual about voting. Now, they are more enthusiastic by 60%-24%, a sweeping change that narrows a key Democratic advantage. Democrats report being more enthusiastic by 67%-19%.
• Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a national unknown before McCain chose her for the ticket 10 days ago, draws a strong reaction from voters on both sides. Now, 29% say she makes them more likely to vote for McCain, 21% less likely.
Obama's choice of Delaware Sen. Joe Biden as running mate made 14% more likely to vote for the Democrat, 7% less likely.
• McCain's acceptance speech Thursday received lower ratings than the one Obama gave a week earlier: 15% called McCain's speech "excellent" compared with 35% for Obama.