McCain and Palin Surge Into the Lead

Today's polls show McCain with a slight lead.

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The USAToday/Gallup poll shows McCain ahead 54 percent to 44 percent among likely voters and 50 percent to 46 percent among registered voters. This poll arbitrarily excludes a certain percentage of LVs from the category of RVs depending on their response to a series of questions. In practice, its LV results have been far more volatile than other polls. But for that reason, it is one of the better measures we have for voter enthusiasm and therefore, perhaps, for turnout. During most of this year, Democrats have been more enthusiastic than Republicans. This poll suggests that the Sarah Palin/John McCain convention has narrowed or eliminated the enthusiasm gap.

Just about every poll released today shows a McCain surge. The Rasmussen track shows McCain up 48 percent to 47 percent, compared with 48 to 48 yesterday. The Gallup track shows McCain ahead 49 to 44, up from 48 to 45 yesterday. The Diageo/Hotline track showed a 44-to-44 tie, compared with a 6 percent lead for Obama in its most recent report. We haven't seen much in the way of state results yet, except that Anchorage-based Ivan Moore, who polls for Democrats but has worked for Republicans in the past, shows McCain-Palin way ahead, 54 percent to 35 percent, in Alaska, where his previous poll showed Obama trailing McCain by only 2.5 percent. "Obama had a real shot to score an upset in Alaska," the Britain-born Moore writes, "but that opportunity is categorically gone."

Bottom line: Obama was a little ahead going into the conventions. McCain is a little ahead coming out of the conventions. On to the debates!