[E]nthusiasm for McCain among his female supporters has soared.
White women have moved from 50-42 percent in Obama's favor before the conventions to 53-41 percent for McCain now, a 20-point shift in the margin that's one of the single biggest post-convention changes in voter preferences. The other, also to McCain's advantage, is in the battleground Midwest, where he's moved from a 19-point deficit to a 7-point edge.
Obama, for his part, shows little or no progress on his chief challenges -- the question of his experience, the definition of the change he'd bring about and his efforts to entice former Hillary Clinton supporters aboard.
What's more, Governor Palin has an 80% approval rating among white women with children at home.
So what's the secret? In my view, Governor Palin is the first major female political figure in America that regular women -- particularly those at home raising their children -- don't see as someone who either secretly despises them for wanting to put their families first or who expects them to be victims. She is the first major female political figure who seems like "one of us" (just, perhaps, smarter, tougher and more accomplished). And she seems to have been drawn into public service not because she had anything to prove, or because of overweening personal ambition . . . but because she actually wanted to make things better.
It's no surprise that Hillary Clinton is refusing to attack Governor Palin. First, if Barack had wanted her to serve as his attack dog, he could have made her vice president, right? But more importantly, Hillary gets it. She realizes that many, many American women of all political persuasions are rooting for the Governor, and how she handles Sarah Palin now will have ramifications for her own standing among women in years to come. My hope is that she can learn from the Governor how to be tough, smart, successful in her own right -- without playing the victim card.