From the beginning I argued that Palin was a great pick for the base, but would prove to be ineffectual with Independents.
In fact, directly after Palin’s much ballyhooed speech, I said the following…
Why give a speech that was really designed to rally the Republican base when John McCain consistently gets more Republican support than Obama gets Democratic support?
Why go on the attack with petty snipes at Obama when you have the chance to frame yourself as a true, transformative political figure and rise above it all?
[…] my guess is that the large majority of independents want to see a lot more out of you than the speech you gave if you have ANY chance of winning their vote. In fact, you may have lost a good portion of them last night.
And since white men and women make up the majority of Independents, that’s a big problem for McCain. His campaign knows that there will probably be a larger than normal African-American and youth vote coming out this season, so he had to win these key white groups by a larger margin than usual if he had any chance of winning.
Well, now Pollster has collected numbers from 56 separate polls to gauge the “Palin Effect” and it’s more bad news for McCain.
But first to explain the following graph What you see below is a shifting horizontal red line representing white women, a shifting horizontal blue line representing white men, and a straight horizontal gray line representing a “TIE” line. That means that the lower the blue and red lines go, the bigger the advantage for McCain. The closer they get to the gray line, the more Obama cuts into McCain’s lead.
Also, the vertical red line marks the date at which Palin was picked as the nominee.
Pretty striking, no?
From the moment that Palin really started taking tough questions she lost roughly 5 points among these key voting groups. And nothing is turning that around at this point. She had her last shot at the debate and she tried to wink her way into the Oval Office.
Now, I do think that it’s unfair to pin all of this swing on Palin. There are obviously some incredibly big things happening in the economy right now. But her lack of poise and candor has proven deadly with Independents. And those lines starting trending towards Obama well before the economic crisis.
Of note, there is another graph over at Pollster that shows a slight swing back among women for Palin, but since Pollster said that graph was more sensitive to outliers (unreliable polls), I chose to use this one instead since the conclusion is pretty much the same.