Polls Show Post-Convention Bounce For GOP

Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is heating up the election scene. A recent poll shows the GOP ticket is getting a bounce after the convention.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And joining us now, as she does most Mondays, is NPR news analyst Cokie Roberts. Good morning.

COKIE ROBERTS: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: Now, Cokie, whether it's thanks to Sarah Palin or not, the national polls are showing some bounce for the Republicans after last week's convention.

ROBERTS: Indeed, and huge viewership. Both of these conventions had close to 40 million people watching the acceptance speeches. And John McCain had a few hundred thousand more than Barack Obama. So obviously, there's a tremendous amount of interest here. In the Gallup poll that was out over the weekend, among registered voters, McCain was up by four points - so not a lot, but better than he was going into his convention, where he was behind in the same poll - and among likely voters up by 10 points. Now that's an interesting measure, Renee, because that is the place where we have to watch to see if Obama is successful in getting young voters registered, because that will change the whole measure of who is and who isn't a likely voter. And we really don't know the answer to that right now.

MONTAGNE: And we've just been hearing from women who like Sarah Palin a lot, seem to identify with her. But is that where her support is coming from? I mean, has she picked up, for instance, some of Hillary Clinton's backers?

ROBERTS: It doesn't look likely. It seems that most of her support is among Republicans, as you would expect. In an ABC poll out late last week, the reaction to Sarah Palin was very partisan. Republicans like her a lot. Democrats don't like her at all. And independents, interestingly, basically have favorable views of both vice-presidential candidates at about the same rate; about a little over 50 percent have favorable views of both Palin and Biden. Men seem to like Sarah Palin somewhat better than women. But that's probably because men are more Republican than women are. Now, it's possible that some of those men are people who voted for Hillary Clinton in the primaries, but that's very hard to know.

It certainly doesn't seem to be the case that independent women, feminists who had been strong Clinton backers are in the Palin camp. That does not seem to be the case, if op-ed articles are to be believed. And they're taking on her stands on social issues, especially abortion, and saying, you know, she's not qualified, she hasn't done any big interviews. She is going to fix that later this week by going on ABC News for an interview with Charlie Gibson.

MONTAGNE: Well, over the weekend, the Democratic candidates picked up some media coverage of their own. Barack Obama and Joe Biden were on the Sunday talk shows. And Joe Biden was asked about when life begins. And what did he say?

ROBERTS: Well, of course, that's a big question in the abortion debate. And when he was asked it, here was his answer on "Meet The Press."

(Soundbite of TV show "Meet The Press")

Senator JOE BIDEN (Democrat, Delaware; 2008 Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee): I'm prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception. But that is my judgment. For me to impose that judgment on everyone else who is equally and maybe even more devout than I am, it seems to me is inappropriate in a pluralistic society.

ROBERTS: And that has been the answer of many, many Catholics who are pro-choice. Barack Obama had answered that question when he appeared at Rick Warren's church, saying that the question was above his pay grade. And yesterday, he said that answer was too flip, that he was just trying to say that he was not - could not take on these theological questions, but that abortion should be rare and that the Democratic platform, he said, says that. That it should make it easier for women not to have abortions.

MONTAGNE: So the campaign continues. Congress is back from a break. Will the candidates - well, three of them anyway - will they show up for duty this week in Senate?

ROBERTS: Well, that will be interesting to see. It's not easy to run for president and vice president while voting in the Senate. And I think the Democrats are going to try to make it especially hard for John McCain, since they control the Congress. But the big issue is going to be energy. And that question of offshore drilling is the one you're going to hear over and over again while Congress is here for a few weeks.

MONTAGNE: That's NPR's Cokie Roberts.

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