Sunday, August 31, 2008

Palin: how this plays with voters

Politicos often talk of voters along a 5-point scale in which 1's are loyalist Democrats, 2's are weak Dems, 3's are Independents, 4's are weak Republicans and 5's are loyalist Republicans.

Palin will help unite the GOP (in fact, she already has). As such, she will shore up McCain's support among the 5's (base Republicans who care about God, Gays and Guns) and will activate the previously weak support McCain received from evangelicals who's actual willingness to turn-up for the Republican in a Presidential election cannot be guaranteed.

On the other hand the Palin pick may well play poorly with 3's who value experience, national security and a moderate stance on social issues. If these voters are concerned about Palin's credentials to be a 'heartbeat away from the Presidency' how much more so the Hillaristas who will loathe her opposition from everything from a woman's right to choose to the use of contraceptives by married couples?

In other words, the Palin pick is not so much about women as it is about evangelicals. In this McCain has been clever, he has made a base-pleasing Veep camouflaged as an appeal to ex-Hillaristas.

This raises some interesting implications for the electoral map, especially in the evangelical-heavy areas of Ohio, Colorado and Virginia as well as Obama long shots like North Carolina and Missouri. I'd be interested in readers thoughts on that as I gather information for my next electoral vote analysis - thanks!

1 comment:

DCDuck said...

My quick and off the top of my head comment here is that McCain felt that he needed to play to his base, and decided that this was a way to do so that might also snooker some independents into supporting him as well.

My unscientific poll of Republicans who I happened to be out drinking with last night suggests that 66.6% of the party is extremely concerned about this selection and believes that it undermines their entire line of attack on Obama, that being that McCain has the experience to lead. 33% of the party believes that she is new and exciting, and may be a real asset on the campaign trail. That portion of the party also believes that the experience line of attack didn't work for Hillary, and that they were going to need to change tactics anyway. While that might not have been a conscious decision here, it was a necessary eventuality.

My final analysis is that the top of the ticket is what matters in almost every case. The VP selection can only hurt you, and very rarely helps. In this instance things don't look great for McCain, but there is also a very real chance that most of this stuff plays out over the next week and a half, and she goes back to being a nonentity after that.