The US presidential rivals have begun campaigning in earnest, as a new opinion poll put Republican John McCain ahead of Democrat Barack Obama.

Fresh from being nominated at their party conventions, the two men are now gearing up for the 4 November poll.

A USA Today-Gallup poll put Mr McCain ahead for the first time in months.

Candidates often see a bounce in the polls after the conventions but Mr McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as running mate is being seen as key.

Mr McCain has tried to strike a balance between distancing himself from an unpopular presidency and rallying the party's conservative base.

Mrs Palin wowed the Republican convention crowd with her speech, helping to re-energise his campaign.

Major test

Mr McCain said that "the electricity has been incredible" at rallies ever since he invited the Alaskan governor to join his ticket.

"She has excited people all over the country. I would love to say it was all because of the charisma of John McCain, but it is not," he told CBS on Sunday.
Mrs Palin will face a major test this week when she gives her first nationally televised interview, following intense media scrutiny over her personal life and credentials for the ticket.

The USA Today-Gallup poll, which was released on Sunday, showed Mr McCain leading Mr Obama by four percentage points, 50 to 46.

A USA Today poll taken before the Republican convention showed Mr McCain trailing Mr Obama by seven points.

The latest poll had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

The results of a Reuters/Zogby poll, also released over the weekend, gave Mr McCain the edge, with 50 percentage points to 46.

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll showed John McCain with a one-point lead.

Mr McCain and Mrs Palin are scheduled to be in Missouri on Monday.

Mr Obama is campaigning in the crucial swing state of Michigan. His vice-president, Joe Biden, was appearing in Wisconsin and Iowa, while Hillary Clinton is on the campaign trail in Florida.

Despite the frenetic pace of the presidential race, the candidates will stop campaigning on Thursday to appear together in New York on the anniversary of the 11 September 2001 attacks.

They said they would put aside politics to honour the memory of the nearly 3,000 people who died.

earnest   adj認真的;誠摯的;熱心的  重要的;嚴肅的
nominated 提名 任命,指定
bounce 吹牛;嚇唬
running 現時的,當前的 奔跑的;賽跑的
rallying (重新)集合,重整  召集;團結  重新振作(精神等);恢復(健康等)
wowed 發出叫聲;大哭
crowd n人群  一堆,許多  大眾    vt擠滿  將...塞進  催促;催逼
electricity 電;電流;電力  極度的興奮;激情
incredible 不能相信的,不可信的  難以置信的;驚人的;極妙的
ticket (政黨的)公認候選人名單(政黨的)綱領,政見
charisma  非凡的領導力  (基督教)神授的能力   魅力
intense 強烈的,劇烈的;極度的
scrutiny 詳細的檢查;仔細的觀察  監視,監督  選票復查
credentials 國書(證明大使身分的證件)
released 發行;發表
trailing 落後於
margin 差數;幅度
crucial 決定性的,重要的嚴酷的,艱難的
frenetic 發狂似的;狂熱的  精神錯亂的
pace 速度;進度
anniversary 週年紀念;週年紀念日
honour = honor

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