Can Palin also galvanize the U.S. left-

But the little-known first-term Alaska governor is a big risk for McCain who had hoped to market his brand of maverick Republican politics to Democrats and moderates in his party.

McCain, who will accept his party’s presidential nomination for the November 4 election on Thursday at its national convention, ignited conservatives by picking as his running mate the staunchly anti-abortion Palin.

Despite his strong opposition to abortion rights, evangelicals have stayed lukewarm on McCain. He did not back a failed federal ban on gay marriage and broke with them on other social issues such as his support for stem cell research.

The first woman vice presidential candidate for the Republican party, Palin is a conservative Christian, avid hunter and has five children.

But her “God and guns” persona may also benefit Democrat Barack Obama and his running mate Joe Biden. Some experts say she will galvanize abortion rights groups and moderate faith groups in a way a more moderate selection for the Republican ticket might have avoided.

“Everybody pays attention to the mobilizing affect on the right but equally important is the mobilizing affect that Palin’s nomination makes for the left,” said Michael Lindsay, a political sociologist at Rice University in Houston who has written extensively on the U.S. evangelical movement.

“In many ways she is a much more mobilizing figure for both sides than John McCain because he is seen as much more of a moderate middle of the road political figure,” he said.

Obama’s campaign said that after her fiery speech on Wednesday night to the Republican National Convention, $8 million had poured into it from more than 130,000 donors and that it was on track to hit $10 million by the time McCain takes the stage Thursday night.

“Sarah Palin’s attacks have rallied our supporters in ways we never expected, and we fully expect John McCain’s attacks tonight to help us make our grassroots organization even stronger,” said Jen Psaki, a campaign spokesman.

Abortion rights activists said Palin gave them a target and threw McCain’s own views into sharp relief.

“We on the pro-choice side have had a hard time convincing pro-choice women that McCain is not their friend because he has a reputation of being a maverick,” said Sarah Stoesz,political polls, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota.

“His selection of Palin has cast his cartoon porn position

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