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Elections are won in the middle. So, as we get ready for the McCain/Palin bounce, which is real, and expected, and irrelevant (we'll get back to reality by next Mon-Tues), this ABC poll, along with previous focus groups, is of interest. Taken 9/4, it is a single day poll (caution). Still, read carefully and understand that the Republican base is not majority America:

Sarah Palin is receiving a highly partisan reception on the national political stage, with significant public doubts about her readiness to serve as president, yet majority approval of both her selection by John McCain and her willingness to join the Republican ticket.

Given the sharp political divisions she inspires, Palin’s initial impact on vote preferences and on views of McCain looks like a wash, and, contrary to some prognostication, she does not draw disproportionate support from women. But she could potentially assist McCain by energizing the GOP base, in which her reviews are overwhelmingly positive.


IMPACT -- The public by a narrow 6-point margin, 25 percent to 19 percent, says Palin's selection makes them more likely to support McCain, less than the 12-point positive impact of Biden on the Democratic ticket (22 percent more likely to support Barack Obama, 10 percent less so). But majorities in both cases say the vice presidential picks won't matter in their vote, and those who do report an impact chiefly are reflecting their existing partisan predispositions.

Similarly, the public divides by a close 43-38 percent on whether the choice of Palin makes them more confident or less confident in the kind of decisions McCain would make as president -- again along sharply partisan lines. Eighty percent of Republicans say it makes them more confident in McCain; that declines to 44 percent of independents, and 59 percent of Democrats instead say it makes them less confident in him. There's no difference between the sexes.

and what we care about most:

VOTE IMPACT -- As noted, predisposed partisans on each side are more apt to react favorably to Palin and Biden. On Palin, conservatives by a 34-point margin say her addition to the ticket makes them more likely rather than less likely to support McCain; among Republicans it's a 37-point positive margin, and among white evangelicals, 32 points. These are all heavily pro-McCain groups in the first place, but these numbers may reflect an enthusiasm -- somewhat lacking in his campaign -- that could impact their turnout.

At the same time, the story in the ideological center is different: Among moderates, Biden registers as a net 15-point positive for Obama. In the same group, Palin shows no effect on support for McCain.

This is a partisan pick and will invoke a partisan response. Within the poll, there's little to suggest sexism (as viewed by the public) :

The public divides on whether the news media have treated Palin fairly -- half say yes, four in 10 no -- and among those who do fault the coverage many more blame political bias than sexism.

Be that as it may, the Sarah Palin pick is not the uniformly positive choice partisans (including media partisans) would have you believe, nor are the press stories anywhere close to over.

Aides to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin improperly obtained her former brother-in-law's state police personnel files and cited information from those records to raise complaints about the officer, the head of Alaska's state police union said Thursday.

The fact is that people are thrilled to have something other than John McCain to talk about. That won't win him the election.


This ABC News poll was conducted by telephone Sept. 4, 2008, among a random national sample of 505 adults. The results from the full survey have a 4.5-point error margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, PA.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 06:08 AM PDT.


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