Skip to comments.Palin's appeal extends beyond party's base
Posted on 09/10/2008 8:18:14 PM PDT by library user
People started queuing before 7am for a front row spot at John McCain's campaign rally in Lebanon, Ohio, this week.
By the time the senator appeared with Sarah Palin, his running mate, three hours later, more than 5,000 people had crammed into the town centre, with hundreds more locked outside the security cordon.
Similar scenes have greeted the Republican presidential ticket at events across the country this week, marking the first time that Mr McCain has rivalled Barack Obama for pulling power.
Scanning the crowd in Lebanon, a commuter town of 17,000 people outside Cincinnati, the catalyst for surging Republican enthusiasm was obvious.
Home-made placards emblazoned with slogans such as "Working Moms for Palin" outnumbered those referring to Mr McCain, and chants of "Sarah, Sarah" filled the air.
"I was always going to vote McCain, but I wasn't looking forward to it," said Dixie Bruggeman, a retired car plant worker, wearing a Stars and Stripes blouse. "When I heard about Sarah Palin, I got excited about the election for the first time and wrote a $100 cheque to the GOP [Republican party]."
Almost every Republican questioned gave a similar account of the electrifying effect that Mr McCain's choice for vice-president had on their attitude to November's poll.
It was conservative strongholds such as Lebanon that helped deliver George W. Bush the wafer-thin victory in Ohio that kept him in the White House four years ago. The state looks set to play a pivotal role again this year and Mr McCain is relying on those same rural and suburban districts to offset Mr Obama's strength in urban and industrialised areas.
A few months ago, Lebanon and surrounding Warren County were popular destinations for reporters researching stories about how Mr McCain was struggling to rally a demoralised and fractured conservative base. But Mary Jo Kubicki, a volunteer at the Republican party headquarters in Lebanon, says that story has now reversed. "The phone hasn't stopped ringing since Palin was picked," she says. "We've had a rush of volunteers and we're out of McCain yard signs."
Part of the reason Ms Palin stirs such passion lies in her conservative record on touchstone issues such as abortion and taxes, helping reassure Republicans who doubt Mr McCain's commitment to such causes.
Plenty of other potential running mates, however, could have brought similar conservative credentials without generating nearly as much excitement. What sets Mrs Palin apart is a background and personality that voters have instantly identified with, even though her life as governor of Alaska and mother-of-five is anything but ordinary.
"She validates me and my lifestyle," said Teri Norris, a mother of three, holding her four year-old daughter and a bag of cookies at the Lebanon rally.
Ms Palin was chosen as much to help Mr McCain appeal to women and blue-collar independent voters as she was to shore up the -conservative base, and polls suggest the strategy is working.
Before the party conventions, an ABC/Washington Post poll showed Mr Obama with a 50-42 per cent lead among white women. This week, the same poll found white women favouring Mr McCain by 53-41 per cent - a 10-point swing.
Support for Mr McCain among independents, meanwhile, has bounced from 40 per cent before the conventions to 52 per cent this week, according to Gallup - the first time he has opened a clear lead over Mr Obama among this critical group.
Increased backing from women and independents is at the heart of Mr McCain's broader bounce in the polls since the Republican convention, with surveys giving him an average two-point cushion over Mr Obama.
Democrats have tried to stem Republican gains among women - and particularly among Hillary Clinton's former supporters - by highlighting Ms Palin's staunch opposition to abortion, which cuts against feminist orthodoxy.
But Joyce Bursten, a McCain supporter, dismissed the idea that abortion was a "make or break issue" for most women.
"I'm pro-choice but I respect the pro-life point of view," she said. "I'm not going to let that one issue cloud everything else."
Ms Palin's stump speech in Lebanon was mostly recycled punch lines from her address to the Republican convention last week, and the delivery was somewhat robotic. But she could have read from the Cincinnati phone directory and the crowd would still have given her a rapturous reception.
"This is what America is all about," she said, speaking from a stage opposite flat-roofed, red-brick buildings of the kind found along small-town main streets across the US. "We're going to Washington and we're going to shake things up."
We love it !
LOL...wonder if Eleanor Clift’s “newsroom” is still laughing.
Andrew Ward is a bloomin' genius.
And this is what drives these moonbats nutty today. They keep trying and trying, digging dirt (30 RAT lawyers sent to Alaska!) and nothing is working. Pathetic, transparent efforts to redefine Sarah Palin, as some kind of a fascist Church Lady. Too late, losers!
Obama is also now using tele-prompters even in the small settings - his spontaneous ruminations have been abysmal.
Great article, the AP is so biased...(imagine that), nice to read something somewhat fair.
Dims just dont get it at all.
Hmmm. Is this that new MSM math they're using here?
Palin giving live speech on FNC, at Fairbanks
I thought the same thing - it looks like 11 points to me, but then I learned math in the 50s, before the post-modernism math where numbers mean any darn thing you want.
And they didn't need a free rock concert to start things off.
I don't care what Shepherd Smith or any of the other media talking heads say, I taught English for 30 years and Obama either made the “pig” comment with every bad intention OR he again demonstrated his famously poor judgment!
They expressed the swing in terms of percentage points.
Another way to look at it — McCain’s share of women’s votes increased by 26%.
It’s really a 20-point swing, isn’t it?
Yep, fair and rare.
It should be no surprise to true conservatives that a solid conservative would bring more people in than a wishy-washy liberal or wannabe moderate. Reagan has already demonstrated that a person with values and convictions and real ability, not a facade of talent(like Obama), is more attractive to everybody. I think most politicians have it in their heads that symbolism wins over substance, but the true conservative knows better by experience.
Among white women, McCain went from 42% to 53%, an 11 point swing, and Obama went down from 50% to 41%, a 9 point swing there..But among Independents he went from 40% to 52%...
Now if Independents are roughly one-third of American voters(* see URL) and women are more than one-half of voters (** see URL), then in numerical terms, McCain has gained Millions of voters thanks to Sarah Palin.
Just hope they can swing some more voters their way..
If winning by about one hundred thousand votes is considered wafer thin, I wonder what a landslide would be?
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