Based on a huge sample, too, one-third of which was polled on Thursday before McCain gave his well-received acceptance speech. This is the first Gallup tracker to be conducted entirely after Palinmania on Wednesday night. Result: A three-point bump since yesterday.

Oh my.

McCain’s 48% share of the vote ties for his largest since Gallup tracking began in early March. He registered the same level of support in early May. This is also McCain’s largest advantage over Obama since early May, when he led by as much as six percentage points. Obama has led McCain for most of the campaign, and for nearly all of the time since clinching the Democratic nomination in early June.

Blogger’s pessimism meter: Now set to level nine, i.e. expecting a heart-stopping finish in which we lose narrowly but congratulate ourselves on making a race out of a campaign we should have lost by 15 points. That’s the highest level since February 2003. Exit question: What if McCain hits 50 percent tomorrow? Will the pessimism meter actually reach the mythical, long-rumored but never conclusively proven to exist level ten?

Update: Pop quiz. Which wingnut stooge said this?

Suddenly, Palin and John McCain are the mavericks and Barack Obama and Joe Biden are the status quo, in a year when you don’t want to be seen as defending the status quo.

From taxes to oil drilling, Democrats are now going to have to start explaining their positions.

Whenever you start having to explain things, you’re on defense…

As for Palin herself, she is going to be very, very effective on the campaign trail, especially if McCain’s people can figure out how to gently keep her from getting into confrontations with the press.

If she can answer questions like she handled herself at the convention, Palin will turn out to be the most interesting person in all of politics, and the press will treat her like they treated Obama when he was first discovered.