Sunday, September 07, 2008

Gov. Sarah Palin Paying Huge Dividends

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When John McCain announced his selection of Sarah Palin the day after Barack Obama's acceptance speech, it was seen as a savvy political move; he had no idea just how smart this gutsy selection was:

The Republican National Convention has given John McCain and his party a significant boost, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken over the weekend shows, as running mate Sarah Palin helps close an "enthusiasm gap" that has dogged the GOP all year.

McCain leads Democrat Barack Obama by 50%-46% among registered voters, the Republicans biggest advantage since January and a turnaround from the USA TODAY poll taken just before the convention opened in St. Paul. Then, he lagged by 7 percentage points.
That's a serious post-convention bump, especially after they cunningly robbed Obama of any bump he could have hoped for after speaking in front of the Greek temple or whatever the hell that thing was.

But what about likely voters, which is a more telling survey:

In the new poll, taken Friday through Sunday, McCain leads Obama by 54%-44% among those seen as most likely to vote. The survey of 1,022 adults, including 959 registered voters, has a margin of error of +/— 3 points for both samples.
So at the very least, McCain is up by 7 percentage points in a race that was supposed to be a runaway for Obama. That, my friends, is the Palin Effect and it's energized the GOP like we've not seen in years--at least since Bush-Gore in 2000.

Other tidbits:

• Before the convention, Republicans by 47%-39% were less enthusiastic than usual about voting. Now, they are more enthusiastic by 60%-24%, a sweeping change that narrows a key Democratic advantage. Democrats report being more enthusiastic by 67%-19%.

• Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a national unknown before McCain chose her for the ticket 10 days ago, draws a strong reaction from voters on both sides. Now, 29% say she makes them more likely to vote for McCain, 21% less likely.
She's got the base jacked up like no other VP choice could have and barring any major mistakes or revelations will potentially push the Maverick over the top. Of course, if Jim Geraghty is prescient, it could be the craziest election we've ever seen and all bets are off.

Finally, this is anecdotal but I was at a football party today (yes, the Eagles kicked the Rams asses) and the consensus is that Palin is well-liked by everyone. These aren't political people by any stretch but everyone was taken with her speech. Interestingly, the only people who bring up the question of experience is women.

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