The Republican National Convention has propelled John McCain into the lead in the race for the White House, according to a USA Today/Gallup Poll released on Sunday.
McCain now leads Democratic rival Barack Obama by 50 percent to 46 percent among registered voters -- the Arizona senator's biggest margin since January. The results are even more remarkable considering that before last week's convention, McCain actually trailed Obama by 7 percentage points.
More significantly, the poll shows McCain with a 10-point lead among voters who are most likely to vote, 54 percent to 44 percent over Obama.
"The Republicans had a very successful convention and, at least initially, the selection of Sarah Palin has made a big difference," political scientist Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia told USA Today. "He's in a far better position than his people imagined he would be in at this point."
Other findings of the poll: McCain has statistically erased Obama's lead when it comes to the issue of which candidate would better handle the economy -- the top issue among voters. Before the convention, Obama had a 19-point lead on that issue. Now, it's just a 3-point margin, within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they were worried that McCain would pursue policies too similar to those of the President Bush. McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, is the reason 29 percent of voters are more likely to vote for McCain; 21 percent say that choice will make them less likely to choose McCain. Obama's choice of Delaware Sen. Joe Biden as the Democratic VP nominee is the reason 14 percent of voters are more likely to vote for Obama; 7 percent less likely. 15 percent rated McCain's nomination acceptance speech "excellent;" 35 said the same of Obama's speech.
The poll was taken Friday through Sunday. The survey of 1,022 adults, including 959 registered voters, has a margin of error of +/— 3 points.
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