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The Sarah Surge in Black and White

world Updated: Sep 16, 2008 02:08 IST

Everyone is talking about the surge. No, not the one in Iraq, but the Sarah Surge that has carried Republican candidate John McCain slightly ahead of Democrat Barack Obama in most polls.

Here are some interesting findings on the effect Sarah Palin’s nomination as the Republican vice-presidential candidate has had on the race and how she is perceived.

Her selection has played well with white women, a key demographic, and they are one of the groups driving McCain’s bounce.

In the latest Newsweek poll, McCain leads Obama in this group by 16 points, 53 per cent to 37. In July, the margin was five points. Twenty-four per cent of these women say they are more inclined to vote for McCain now that he has a female running mate.

According to an ABC News-Washington Post poll, “hockey mom” Palin’s favourable rating among white women with children at home is 80 per cent.

Overall, 52 per cent of those polled by Newsweek have a favourable opinion of Palin. But many of them are not familiar with her record. Fifty-seven per cent did not know Palin opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest, Newsweek.com said.

Sixty-nine per cent did not know she favours teaching creationism in schools. Among white women, 16 per cent did not know whether Palin shares their view on abortion.

Seventy per cent of likely voters in an Associated Press-GfK poll supported Palin’s decision to become McCain’s running mate, despite the demands of a family that includes a pregnant teenage daughter and an infant son with Down’s syndrome.

Men were slightly likelier than women to support her choice.

As you may have read here, 36 per cent said Palin lacks proper experience, as against 47 per cent who found that to be a problem with Obama.

In a Fox News poll, more people thought McCain made the “smarter choice” for a running mate. The split was 50 per cent to 40.

Palin has not only energised the Republican Party, she will also get members to open their purse-strings.

In a Rasmussen Reports poll, 61 per cent of Republicans said they are more likely to give money to the McCain campaign with Palin on the ticket.

Is what we are seeing the usual post-convention bounce or has Palin Power changed the race? That’s the sixty-four dollar question.