ST. PAUL — The numbers are in for Sarah Palin’s Republican National Convention speech, and they’re pretty remarkable.

Some 37.2 million viewers watched Palin deliver a sharp, frequently sarcastic address in which she identified herself as a a pit-bull wearing lipstick. And she was biting at Barack Obama’s heels.

While Palin’s speech was shown on just six television networks — as opposed to the ten that featured Obama’s speech last Thursday night to the Democratic National Convention — the Republican candidate for vice president attracted almost as many viewers as did the Democratic candidate for president.

Palin’s 37.2 million draw was just 1.2 million below the 38.4 million that tuned in to see Obama.

Women viewers tuned in in dramatic numbers to the first-ever address to the nation by a Republican nominee for vice president. Nielson ratings indicate that Palin drew 19.5 million women viewers. That’s almost five million more women than tuned in to see New York Senator Hillary Clinton address the Democratic convention in Denver.

That’s got to make Republicans feel good.

But…

Palin is not just in competition with the Democrats.

Tonight, Republican presidential nominee John McCain will appear before the convention to deliver the parallel speech to Obama’s of last Thursday night. Unlike Obama — whose decision to deliver his acceptance speech at an outdoor stadium was ridiculed by Palin — McCain made the more traditional choice to address the convention inside the hall. He’s not going to try to rival Obama’s live crowd of 85,000.

But will he rival Obama’s television audience?

More significantly, will McCain’s viewership rival Palin’s?

Stay tuned.