Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Palin Attracts Women, Rural Voters, and Southerners

The impact of Sarah Palin's nomination as GOP vice-presidential running mate continues to lift the Republican Party's appeal in the electorate. A new Wall Street Journal poll indicates that in addition to consolidating the conservative base of the party, Palin is also attracting women, small-town voters to the Republican column:

Sen. John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate has shaken up the presidential race, lifting enthusiasm among his once-subdued supporters and boosting the ticket's appeal with women, rural voters and Southerners.

The new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll also shows that a majority of voters say they are comfortable with the idea of the first-term Alaska governor as vice president, despite a national debate over whether she is experienced enough for the job.

The Palin effect helps explain why Sen. McCain is now even with Sen. Barack Obama in the head-to-head race. With eight weeks until Election Day, the Journal survey found a dead heat: 46% of registered voters favor Sens. Obama and Joe Biden, and 45% favor the McCain-Palin ticket. The lift, if it grows, could also help other Republicans, particularly in close Senate races in the South.
The survey notes a number of bright spots for the Democrats (voters still know little about the Alaska Governor, in particular), but then stresses the increasing enthusiasm for the McCain/Palin ticket:

One in three voters say that Gov. Palin makes them more likely to support Sen. McCain for president, while 25% say the pick makes them less likely to vote for him. Enthusiasm among the McCain voters is way up: 34% now say they are excited about the ticket compared with 12% last month.
The bottom line is that the McCain/Palin ticket has narrowed the advantages Barack Obama once enjoyed. The GOP is looking especially good in the south, and Sarah Palin out-polls Joseph Biden among blue-collar voters.

Of course, the response of the mainstream press to the GOP's increasing gains has been to intensify scrutiny of Sarah Palin's record in Alaska,
as Brent Baker indicates:

With fresh media polls showing Sarah Palin causing a sizable percent of women to shift to support John McCain from Barack Obama, CBS and NBC on Tuesday night devoted full stories to fact check examinations to discredit her, specifically on the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere,” even though all the newscasts have already run stories on how she was for the bridge earmark during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign.
While it's true that the press is playing accomplice to the radical left-wing's smear campaign against the GOP, a majority of voters perceive media bias against the GOP, and this may end up damaging the Democrats more that the ongoing anti-Palin smears.