Wednesday, October 22, 2008
A Drag on the Ticket?
Old conventional political wisdom dictates that vice presidential picks don't change the outcome of a race. When Sarah Palin received larger fanfare than John McCain a month ago, the pundits cautioned, "people vote for President, not for Vice President."
Well, vice presidential candidates may not win elections, but this year it's looking increasingly likely that Sarah Palin may help lose one.
In an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released last night, the number one concern about McCain was Palin's perceived lack of qualifications.
Today Show/NBC News graphic
This morning, NBC's Political Director Chuck Todd explained McCain's "Palin problem":
"Speaking of Palin, her numbers have plummeted in our poll. For the first time, she has a net-negative fav/unfav rating (38%-47%), the only principal [candidate] to carry that distinction. What's more, 55% think she's unqualified to serve as president if the need arises, which is a troublesome number given McCain's age. (Have worries about McCain's age risen because of Palin? Seems to be the case)."
Other polls reflect this perception problem for the McCain/Palin camp as well. Pew released its latest poll that echoes many of the NBC/WSJ's findings about voters' perceptions of Palin and their effect on McCain. Pew's headline doesn't mention Palin specifically -- "Growing Doubts About McCain's Judgment, Age and Campaign Conduct" -- but it has this telling observation in the write-up:
"Notably, opinions of Palin have a greater impact on voting intentions than do opinions of Joe Biden, Obama's running mate."
Then ABC pulls McCain's poll problems together with this nugget explaining its most recent poll: "Fallout continues from McCain's pick of Sarah Palin for vice president, with 52 percent saying it weakens their confidence in his judgment."
Obviously, the McCain people aren't loving this and Politico reports that the candidate himself says he's "amazed" by the reaction to his VP pick. Politico writes:
"She is a governor, the most popular governor in America," McCain said. "I think she is the most qualified of any that has run recently for vice president."
"I'm amazed. I'm amazed. Which is better? Serve 35 years in the United States Senate and say you've got to divide Iraq into three different countries, or be governor of a state and a reformer and give people their tax dollars back and bring about reform in the way that your state does business? Which is better?"
Palin buzz -- good and bad -- has lit up the Internet over the past 24 hours. Our friends at Yahoo! Buzz have the details.