The Value of a Wingwoman

New polls are like shiny new toys for political reporters, campaign strategists and those watching at home who are glued to the Political Radar

This morning we woke up to a new poll from USA Today/Gallup that showed quite a post-convention swing for McCain-Palin (50-46 lead over Obama-Biden) and evidence that the enthusiasm gap between McCain supporters and Obama supporters had closed, something that can certainly be traced back to the Palin pick.

This evening, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that the race is close. Very close. The ABC News/Washington Post poll also shows that same closing of the enthusiasm gap. Nearly half of McCain's supporters are now "very" enthusiastic about his candidacy, up from 28 percent late last month, ABC News Polling Director Gary Langer reports.

More from Langer: "John McCain's taken the better boost from the presidential nominating conventions, eroding Barack Obama's advantage on change, improving on enthusiasm, moving away from George W. Bush – and advancing among white women with help from his surprise vice presidential pick.

Some of McCain's biggest gains in this ABC News/Washington Post poll are among white women, a group to which "hockey mom" Sarah Palin has notable appeal: Sixty-seven percent view her favorably and 58 percent say her selection makes them more confident in McCain's decision-making. Among those with children, Palin does better yet. And enthusiasm for McCain among his female supporters has soared."

White women have moved from 50-42 percent in Obama's favor before the conventions to 53-41 percent for McCain now, a 20-point shift that's one of the single biggest post-convention changes in voter preferences. The other, also to McCain's advantage, is in the battleground Midwest, where he's moved from a 19-point deficit to a 7-point edge." The horse race numbers remain in the equivalent of a dead heat, Langer reports. Among registered voters, Obama leads 47-46 but among likely voters, it's a 49-47 McCain advantage.

For more from the ABC News poll, click here: LINK

Clinton on the trail… ABC News' Eloise Harper reports that while campaigning for Obama in Florida today, Hillary Clinton would not go after Palin. "The furthest she went was saying is that she and Republican presidential candidate John McCain 'are not the change that we need." Harper notes.

Not exactly going for the knock out punch there, but that may not be on the horizon. Harper notes that on his new blog today, former Clinton Advisor Howard Wolfson said "Clinton-Palin might drive ratings and sell magazines, but it wouldn't be good for the Democratic Party, or the cause of women's rights. Some might enjoy the spectacle, but don't expect Hillary Clinton to play along."

On the air waves… Dueling ads today from the McCain and Obama campaigns, with the Republican ticket touting their work in government as maverick reformers and the Democratic response taking issue with that.

The McCain ad: "The original mavericks…They'll make history. They'll change Washington." The Obama response ad: "They call themselves mavericks. Whoa. Truth is…they're anything but."

Tomorrow McCain and Palin continue their tandem campaigning, with stops in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Obama hits up Ohio and Virginia and Biden campaigns in Missouri.

On the campaign front. . . JOHN MCCAIN -- 10:00 am ET: Campaign Event, Lebanon, OH -- 3:30 pm ET: Rally, Lancaster, PA.

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