54-44 and Fight!

Gallup conducted a weekend poll separately from its daily tracking survey, in partnership with USA Today, and discovered a huge convention bounce for John McCain.  As the cheers subsided from McCain’s exhortation to “Stand up!” and “Fight!”, Gallup discovered he had taken a four-point lead among registered voters, and a double-digit lead among likely voters:

The Republican National Convention has given John McCain and his party a significant boost, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken over the weekend shows, as running mate Sarah Palin helps close an “enthusiasm gap” that has dogged the GOP all year.

McCain leads Democrat Barack Obama by 50%-46% among registered voters, the Republican’s biggest advantage since January and a turnaround from the USA TODAY poll taken just before the convention opened in St. Paul. Then, he lagged by 7 percentage points. …

In the new poll, taken Friday through Sunday, McCain leads Obama by 54%-44% among those seen as most likely to vote. The survey of 1,022 adults, including 959 registered voters, has a margin of error of +/— 3 points for both samples.

Even in the less-predictive registered voter calculation, McCain scored a double-digit turnaround.  Obama had led by seven, and now McCain leads by four, which is still within the margin of error.  Among likely voters, though, McCain has jumped out to a commanding lead, and this is a much better predictor of future behavior.

Also, this is the first time McCain has breached the 50% mark in this race.  In fact, both candidates have remained below that mark all summer, a fact that had given analysts some pause.  McCain appears to have broken through to new voters rather than just reshuffle the deck, and his choice of Sarah Palin as running mate has made the difference.  The Republican enthusiasm numbers have shot upward sharply, almost matching those of the Democrats.

But the most significant internal from this poll comes on the economy.  McCain’s definition of Obama as another doctrinaire tax-and-spend liberal has begun to take hold.  Obama had enjoyed a commanding lead on economic issues all summer, and in the last such Gallup poll led by 19 points on the economy.  McCain has whittled that down to three points, within the margin of error.

Obama stumbled over the weekend, trying to attack Palin while at the same time whine about Republican attacks on him.  We figured his pollsters must be telling him bad news.  Gallup just confirmed it.