The latest Gallup Poll has McCain in the lead: 50 percent to 46 percent.

The Republicans were hampered by a shortened convention and a less than exciting speech by its presidential candidate, and they still pulled ahead.

No doubt Sarah ‘Barracuda’ Palin had a hand in this. Her speech electrified the convention, created a buzz, and gave folks a reason to vote for McCain.

Perhaps people are finally realizing that Obama’s promises of hope and change are just that: promises. You can’t run a campaign on empty words and rhetoric. Pretty soon the hot air runs out and deflates, and folks no longer feel that tingly feeling in their leg when their ‘Chosen One’ speaks.

Perhaps people are realizing that Obama’s progressive agenda of socialized medicine and tax increases will drain the economy.

Perhaps they are realizing that Obama at the helm will leave us vulnerable to terrorist attacks; negotiating with killers is not sound policy.

Maybe the experience of voting ‘present’ a hundred times as a Senator is not actual experience. Writing two books about yourself is not an impressive resume either.

I’ll let you decide.

Other interesting findings from the poll are these:

McCain has statistically erased Obama’s lead when it comes to the issue of which candidate would better handle the economy — the top issue among voters. Before the convention, Obama had a 19-point lead on that issue. Now, it’s just a 3-point margin, within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

15 percent rated McCain’s nomination acceptance speech “excellent;” 35 said the same of Obama’s speech.

I’m surprised they were able to find that many people who would describe McCain’s speech as ‘excellent’. But even as dry and dull as it was, there was more substance packed in his than Obama’s self-promoting sermon in front of a Greek Temple backdrop.

Will this lead sustain? Will it get even wider? The Republican base is energized and running full speed ahead. McCain’s numbers will do nothing but go up.