Fox News poll: McCain leads by three, gains 16 points among independents since last month

Obama hasn’t lost ground since last month — he was at 42 then and he’s at 42 now — but McCain’s gained six points since, thanks mainly to that surge among indies. If the CW is right and independents are currently overrepresented by conservatives disgruntled with the GOP but sympathetic to its principles, then the convention was a huge success in drawing them back. Current favorable ratings among indies: McCain 67/21, Palin 55/25, Obama 50/39. 40 percent of them say they’re more likely to vote for McCain after the Palin pick versus 31 who say less, again suggesting a rightward tilt. Note the lines here, too, especially on the experience question:

I’m skeptical that voters conceive of experience this way, as a package deal, but no matter. Obviously, Biden’s eternity in D.C. isn’t doing much to help Obama on this point, even with doubts about Palin weighing a bit on McCain (elsewhere, independents say they’re more comfortable with Biden as VP than Palin, 53/31). Besides, she has compensating qualities:

Thus dies the left’s plutocrat meme. In fact, I wonder if the most amazing result there isn’t Palin’s numbers but the fact that McCain trails Obama by only two among independents.

A little more Palinmania for you. I ask again, when will Biden be Eagletoned?

And finally, two questions proving that principles bow to partisanship, at least for a significant minority, in the heat of the election. Doubtless the GOP numbers would look very different if it was a Democrat who was dealing with Palin’s family drama:

The most amazing result not shown above? Palin’s favorable rating among Republicans is 87/5 — which is actually exceeded by McCain’s own split of 94/4, a result that makes me think that particle collider did do something weird to the space/time continuum and we’re now all trapped in some alternate dimension where Maverick has morphed into some Reaganesque conservative standard bearer. In fact, for all the hype independents will get from this poll, the dirty little secret to McCain’s lead is (and has been) that he’s more popular with his party than Obama is with his. Republicans split 88/5 between McCain and The One; Democrats split 9/79. Bear that in mind the next time you stumble across some breathless article about “Obamicans.” Exit question from a resolute pessimist: Are people starting to believe?