The Palin Effect – 2 Points

November 5, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Of an entirely different nature than the Bradley Effect, the Palin effect is the polled difference in support for McCain with and without Sarah Palin on the ticket.  While the Bradley Effect is in some sense a measure of people’s honesty with pollsters, the Palin effect is an attempt to understand the impact on people’s decision of  the choice of a running mate.

There are many ways to measure that impact – Sarah Palin’s poor favorability ratings overall, especially her lack of popularity among the important moderate and independent voters (she continues to be treated like a Christian-Rock-Star by the Christian Right part of the Republican base).  Some polls had as many as 60% of the population holding negative opinions and believing that Palin was not qualified.

While it’s always difficult to poll people based on a hypothetical scenario, that doesn’t stop the pollsters from trying.  CNN attempted to conduct such a survey two weeks ago, and calculated that McCain’s support would have been 2 points higher without Palin than it was with her on the ticket.

We might think that is an unimportant difference.  But this 2-point difference would have decided a large number of recent contests, where the margin of victory has been very slim.

Palin promises to stay around, and is exploring the best ways to position herself for 2012.  I think this is a marvelous idea.  I’ve re-upped my domain registration, and can’t wait to see the Republican party engage in an all-out cultural civil war all its own.

The fissures in the party that were always there are coming to the surface and could well rip that tent apart, leaving Republicans in the cold driving rain.  Umbrella, anyone?

Categories: Bush · McCain · Palin · Politics
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