GOP Rock Star? Palin Shakes Up Race

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When John McCain announced that Sarah Palin would be his running mate, many were skeptical that the Alaska governor was the right choice.

But after a star-making speech at the Republican National Convention, Palin has turned into a huge asset for McCain on the campaign trail - especially among women.

For more on the sudden shift in women voters to McCain, watch Princella Smith, with the Independent Women's Voice, following this report.

A New Celebrity in Town

It used to be that Barack Obama was the only candidate in this election capable of drawing big crowds, but now Republicans have their own rock star.

The governor of Alaska has created a huge buzz around the McCain campaign. Thousands are now packing in at campaign stops across the heartland to hear her deliver a fiery message of reform.

"We're going to Washington to shake things up," she declared.

Palin has helped McCain jump ahead of Obama in several national polls since last week's Republican convention.

The latest ABC News-Washington Post poll has McCain leading 49 to 47 among likely voters.

The most dramatic shift has been among white women.

Obama led 50 to 42 among that group before the conventions. Now McCain leads by 53 to 41 - that's a 19 point turnaround.

Many women relate to Palin's status as a working mom.

"As a working mom with children, I think she can do the job," said one Palin supporter.

Others are drawn to her outsider image.

"I'm more enthusiastic because she's not from Washington," another supporter said.

Obama Strikes Back

But Obama is hitting back at the McCain team's new reform message. Yesterday in Michigan, he looked to reclaim the "change" mantle.

"The American people aren't stupid," he said. "What they're looking for is someone who's been consistently calling for change."

Obama is also looking to recapture women voters - giving Hillary Clinton an important role on the trail.

"No way, no how, no McCain and Palin," Clinton said.

The Obama campaign says there's no doubt Palin is helping to stir up the Republican base. But what remains to be seen is how she plays with swing voters over the remaining two months of the campaign.

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Erick Stakelbeck

Erick Stakelbeck

CBN News

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