WASHINGTON, D.C., September 8, 2008 ( – The Republicans continue to pull ahead in the presidential race according to the latest polls, after enthusiasm for Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin and a successful Republican National Convention (RNC) swayed the majority support away from the Democratic ticket.

Both Gallup and Zogby polls found Sen. John McCain ahead of Sen. Barack Obama by a small, but significant margin.

On Saturday a Zogby poll showed 49.7% support for McCain/Palin vs. 45.9% for Obama/Biden, while a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted over the weekend revealed a 4-point lead for McCain at 50%-46%. 

McCain’s popularity boost after the RNC continues to grow, giving the Republicans a lead unmatched since January, and propelling them from a 7-point lag just before the convention opened.  Last week’s convention in St. Paul gathered a larger television audience than any other American political convention in history, with both Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin’s speeches both breaking records for television viewership.

Among those seen by pollsters as most likely to vote, Gallup showed even wider support for McCain, who leads Obama 54%-44%. 

Pollster John Zogby commented on the pro-life, pro-family Gov. Palin’s ability to attract voters to the GOP campaign: “Clearly, Palin is helping the McCain ticket. She has high favorability numbers, and has unified the Republican Party. The striking thing here in this poll is that McCain has pulled ahead among Catholics by double-digits.” 

Among vice-presidential candidates, Palin is the favorite, according to Zogby: 54% favored Palin, compared to 49% for Biden.

According to political scientist Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia, the polls reflect renewed excitement not only for the McCain/Palin ticket, but for the entire GOP.  “The Republicans had a very successful convention and, at least initially, the selection of Sarah Palin has made a big difference,” said Sabato.  “[McCain] is in a far better position than his people imagined he would be in at this point.” 


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