The poll also underlined the extent to which Mr. McCain’s convention — and his selection of Ms. Palin — had excited Republican base voters about his candidacy, a development that is no small thing in a contest that continues to be so tight: 47 percent of Mr. McCain’s supporters described themselves as enthused about the Republican party’s presidential ticket, almost twice what it was before the conventions. As often happens at this time of year, partisans are coalescing around their party’s nominees and independents are increasingly the battleground.
But the Times/CBS News poll suggested that Ms. Palin’s selection has, to date, helped Mr. McCain only among Republican base voters; there was no evidence of significantly increased support for him among female voters in general. White women are evenly divided between Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama; before the conventions, Mr. McCain led Mr. Obama among white women by a margin of 44 percent to 37 percent.
By contrast, at this point in the 2004 campaign, President Bush was leading Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democratic challenger, by 56 percent to 37 percent among white women.