Daily Archives: September 1, 2008

Reading the Palin Tea Leaves

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — John McCain’s decision to add Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to the GOP ticket is enormously popular with members of the Iowa delegation here at the Republican National Convention. Again and again, I’ ve talked to delegates who were only so-so on McCain’s prospects just days ago who are now fired up.

Her background, her conservative credentials, her guns, they love everything about her. Although they’re still a little uncertain how to pronounce her name. At this morning’s delegation breakfast I heard Paylin and Paulin and Peelin and Pulin.

Never mind that. What they know, they like.

“I would walk on broken glass to get this team elected,” said Steve Scheffler, a GOP national committee member, chairman of the delegation and the leader of the Iowa Christian Alliance. He says Palin was his first choice for VP.
So the base is fired up, but what about those pesky, crucial independents? Are they in love?
Maybe not so much, according to a focus group convened by Republican pollster Frank Luntz. Here’s Joe Klein’s account in Time Magazine’s Swampland blog:
Another week, another Frank Luntz/AARP focus group of undecided voters–this one in Minneapolis and with some bad news for John McCain: they don’t like the choice of Sarah Palin for vice president. Only one person said Palin made him more likely to vote for McCain; about half the 25-member group raised their hands when asked if Palinmade them less likely to vote for McCain. They had a negative impression of Palin by a 2-1 margin…a fact that was reinforced when they were given hand-dials and asked to react to Palin’s speech at her first appearance with McCain on Friday—the dials remained totally neutral as Palin went through her heart-warming(?) biography, and only blipped upwards when she said she opposed the Bridge to Nowhere–which wasn’t quite the truth, as we now know.

There’s more at the link above. Interesting stuff.

Sometimes, a move that plays well with the base doesn’t wow a wider audience, but it will be a while before we know the real impact. And frankly, after this week, the running mates will fade to the background and the campaign will be about the principles again. Unless one of the mates makes a glaring mistake. And, no, I don’t think Palin’s 17-year-old daughter’s personal troubles is one of those errors.

But McCain has succeeded in pumping some much-needed electricity into his convention, that is, if Hurricane Gustav doesn’t spoil the whole show.

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