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SurveyUSA: Palin’s Speech Comparable to Obama’s

Well, we finally have what I would consider to be some fairly definitive polling on Sarah Palin’s speech last night, and it would tend to support the consensus view (which I had tended to dissent from) that she did very well.

Survey USA polled 1061 voters who watched Palin’s speech and asked them to grade it from A to F. 60 percent gave it an “A” and her average GPA was 3.1. Among Republicans, her GPA was 3.7, among independents it was 3.0, and among Democrats it was 2.2.

SurveyUSA did not conduct a national poll on Obama’s convention speech but they did collect numbers in two important swing areas: Tampa-St. Petersburg and Columbus, Ohio. The numbers were literally almost identical both to one another and to Palin’s speech. Obama got a 3.1 GPA overall in Columbus and a 3.0 overall in Tampa. In each region, he polled at a 3.6 among Democrats, a 3.0 among independents, and a 2.2 among Republicans — the mirror image of Palin’s numbers.

I would still make a distinction between a near-term emotional high and the longer-term persuasive ability of the speech, which means we’ll want to wait a week or so before we take any numbers too seriously. But certainly, the smart money is on McCain-Palin getting a bump in the polls tomorrow.

Nate Silver is the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.

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