John McCain, with Sarah Palin riding shotgun, is finally getting the kinds of loud crowds that Democratic rival Barack Obama has been getting for months now.
And a new poll published today suggests that McCain has closed the "enthusiasm gap" with Palin's help and the anti-Obama drumbeat from the Republican convention last week, putting him into a narrow national lead with less than two months until the election.
The USA Today/Gallup survey gave McCain a 50 percent to 46 percent lead over Obama among registered voters -- compared to a 7-percentage-point deficit after the Democratic convention and before the GOP gathering.
The selection of Palin to the Republican ticket led 29 percent of voters to say they were more likely to vote for McCain, while 21 percent said they were less likely, according to the poll.
The survey, conducted Friday through Sunday, has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Another new poll out today shows a dead heat between the McCain-Palin and Obama-Biden tickets -- and no bump in support for McCain from the convention.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey has a tie at 48 percent among registered voters; their prior two surveys also showed a dead heat.
With the minor-party candidates included McCain and Obama are tied at 45 percent with Libertarian Bob Barr and independent Ralph Nader at 3 percent each, and Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney at 1 percent.
The poll was conducted Friday through Sunday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
UPDATE: And there's a third new national poll out this afternoon, saying that the race is now even after a post-convention bounce for McCain.
The Washington Post/ABC News poll says Obama leads 47 percent to 46 percent among registered voters, within the poll's sampling error.
The survey found that McCain's biggest gains came among white women -- a group he targeted by naming Palin as his running mate.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.