White women flock to McCain over Palin choice, poll reveals


US: Republican presidential candidate John McCain has gained huge support among white women since naming Sarah Palin as his running mate and now leads Democrat Barack Obama among those voters, according to a survey published yesterday.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll found that much of Mr McCain's surge in the polls since the Republican National Convention is attributable to the shift in support among white women.

The race for the White House is now a virtual tie, with Mr Obama at 47 per cent support of registered voters and Mr McCain at 46 per cent, the poll found.

Before the Democratic National Convention in late August, Mr Obama held an eight point lead among white women voters, 50 per cent to 42 per cent, but after the Republican convention in early September, Mr McCain was ahead by 12 points among white women, 53 per cent to 41 per cent, the poll found.

Asked about the findings during a briefing on Monday before the poll was published, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe told a Washington Post reporter, "Well, your poll is wrong. I don't think you'll find many others that back up a 20-point reversal."

He added: "We certainly are not seeing any movement like that. Polls, time to time, particularly on the demographic stuff, can have some pretty wild swings."

Mr McCain surprised the electorate ahead of the Republican convention by naming Ms Palin, the little-known Alaska governor, as his vice-presidential running mate. She received high marks among supporters for her convention address, which included a scathing attack ridiculing Mr Obama's experience and record.

Mr Obama, who would be the first black US president, defeated rival Hillary Clinton in the battle for the Democratic nomination, a long and bitter struggle that left many of the former first lady's supporters disaffected and angry.

Many of her backers were further angered when Mr Obama ignored her in picking a vice-presidential candidate, choosing instead senator Joe Biden.

A key question for the Obama campaign has been whether he would be able to maintain the support of Mrs Clinton's supporters. - (Reuters)