McCain makes gains among white women voters after Palin pick

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The selection of Sarah Palin as the Republican party’s nominee for Vice President of the United States has proved popular with one key demographic – white women.

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll reveals that 67% of them view her favourably, despite her opposition to abortion.

That rises to 80% for white women with children at home.

Her selection by John McCain has also boosted his numbers.

Before the conventions, he was trailing Democratic nominee Barack Obama 50% to 42% among white women.

He has now reversed that trend, with 53% for McCain and 41% for Obama in the latest poll.

Overall the numbers are 47% Obama and 46% McCain.

18% said they had not made their minds up yet but 42% were uncomfortable with McCain taking office aged 72.

Meanwhile winning over former Hillary Clinton supporters, many of them women, is a major challenge for Barack Obama. Just 50% of her former backers said they will definitely vote for him.

96% of black voters and 79% of non-whites overall said they will back Obama, the first African American to be nominated by a major party.

It was revealed just after her nomination that Governor Palin’s 17-year-old daughter Bristol is five months pregnant, and is to marry the teenage father.

While Sarah Palin’s supporters stressed that she had informed Senator McCain of the situation before he offered her the Vice Presidential slot, others were taken aback.

On course to become a grandmother at aged 44, Ms Palin, who is the Governor of Alaska, issued the following statement:

“Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned.

“We’re proud of Bristol’s decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents.”

The revelation does not appear to have hurt her appeal among white women voters.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Sept. 5-7, 2008, among a random national sample of 1,133 adults, including an oversample of African Americans (weighted to their correct share of the national population), for a total of 211 black respondents. Results among the 961 registered voters have a 3-point error margin.