Skip to comments.Media Wrong Again: Palin Helped McCain In 2008
Posted on 11/30/2013 12:34:27 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
For over five years, a consistent media claim has been that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin hurt Republican presidential nominee John McCain in 2008 and that he would have fared better with anyone else on the ticket besides her.
A recent study by political science professors at Bradley University debunks this claim concluding instead that Palin was a net plus for McCain including with independents and moderates.
The first serious study on this matter was conducted by University of Central Florida political science professor Jonathan Knuckey and was published in Political Research Quarterly in April 2011:
Using data from the American National Election Studies, this article addresses whether the Sarah Palin affected vote choice in 2008. Findings indicate not only that evaluations of Palin were a strong predictor of vote choiceeven when controlling for confounding variablesbut also that Palins effect on vote choice was the largest of any vice presidential candidate in elections examined dating back to 1980. Theoretically, the article offers support for the proposition that a running mate is an important short-term force affecting voting behavior. Substantively, the article suggests that Palin may have contributed to a loss of support among swing voters.
In their response published in PRQ in October, Bradley University's Edward M. Burmila and Josh M. Ryan took Knuckey's data to reach a far different conclusion:
Our analysis shows that the data do not support these findings. We find that respondent evaluations of Palin have a positive effect on McCain vote choice, even among independents and moderates, and Palins effect on the election outcome is comparable with ten of the last fifteen vice-presidential nominees.
Burmilia and Ryan introduced their study:
In a recent issue of this journal, "The 'Palin Effect in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election" by Jonathan Knuckey addressed a substantively interesting question: did the selectionof Sarah Palin negatively affect John McCains share of the vote (Knuckey 2012)? In line withthe conventional post-election narrative and other research on the ―Palin Effect‖ (see Elis, Hillygus, and Nie 2010), the article concludes that Palin hurt McCain among key moderate andindependent voters. Specifically, the article makes three claims. First, Palin had a measurable, independent effect on the presidential popular vote in 2008. Second, she hurt the McCain campaign by driving away independent and moderate voters. Third, Palin is a uniquely divisive figure and her effect on the presidential vote was larger than any recent vice-presidential nominee.
Burmilia and Ryan debunked claim one:
The interaction term is not significant and there is no feeling thermometer rating for Palin that produces a negative and statistically significant slope on McCain vote choice for independents or moderates. In fact, the slope is positive, though not statistically significant for all Palin feeling thermometer values. For Republicans, any rating of Palin results in a statistically significant positive effect on McCain vote choice although there is no increase in effect size as a Republican rates Palin more positively. Excepting independents who are neutral toward Palin (near 50 on the thermometer), the positive effect of Palin rating on vote choice among independents is not statistically different from Republicans. The same is true for ideology. There is never a statistically significant negative effect of feelings toward Palin on McCain vote choice conditional on ideology. As before, there are no statistically significant differences between conservatives and moderates. The substantive interpretation is clear: the positive relationship between McCain vote choice and feelings for Palin is not conditional on party identification or ideology. Not only is there no negative effect for independent voters on feelings toward Palin, there is no meaningful difference between Republicans and independents on how feelings toward Palin affected McCain vote choice. Our analysis reaches a different conclusion from the original paper; we find that the positive relationship between the Palin feeling thermometer and the likelihood of voting for McCain does not depend on a voters ideology or party affiliation. Therefore the results call into question the major conclusions of the paper; Palin did not have a negative effect on McCains vote share overall, nor did she result in ―eroded support for McCain among critical `swing voters such as Independents and moderates, (2012: 286-287).
The study's conclusion:
Sarah Palin was a highly visible and polarizing figure in the 2008 presidential election. She generated media attention and attracted praise and criticism beyond what is usually given to vice-presidential nominees. It is logical to assume, as popular post-election wisdom did, that her impact on the outcome of the election was also greater than previous running mates. "The 'Palin Effect' in the 2008 Presidential Election" uses survey data to support that conclusion. Our reading of the article respectfully argues that the data do not support the key findings, which are:
1. That there is a negative conditional effect of feelings toward Palin on likelihood of a McCain vote among independents and moderates. We find that using marginal effects, as is appropriate for cross-sectional data, shows that Palin had a positive effect on McCain vote choice, and based on our model specification, may have had a positive, conditional relationship for independent voters.
2. That Palins impact on vote choice was the largest among all recent vice-presidential candidates. We find that when confidence intervals are included, Palins effect was not necessarily the largest among the nominees since 1972.
As such, the Palin-hating media are again wrong.
Color me very unsurprised.
Without Sarah, he would have been laughed into conceding by July.
I guarantee you the only reason I voted for that doddering old man is because I believed Matt Damon’s view about actuarial tables and hoped Sarah would simply ascend...after a sad and regretful state funeral...
The big difference is that with Sarah, McCain was able to come in second. If Palin had not been on the ticket, McCain would have come in last.
Yeah, in fact, I was hoping winning would be too much for his ticker on election night.
The most troubling aspect of all of this is that it is more than likely that Obama would have lost the 2008 election if Sarah Palin had been at the top of the GOP Ticket.
Palin-McCain would have won in a landslide.
That was the huge mistake the GOP establishment made at the 2008 convention.
I posted here right after the election that had Sarah NOT been on the ticket McLame would have lost by an additional 20 million votes. OK a little hype there but I could believe 5-10 million less. He was a disaster and I surely would not have voted for him. Any one even remember when they floated ‘TOM RIDGE!?????
Because Joe Biden is SUCH a much smarter and honorable person than Sarah. < /BULLSTALIN >
You are quite correct. He knew this before he picked her. I’m sure his internal polling was saying that he did not a snowball’s chance in hell of winning even one State if he did not find a conservative to be his running mate.
I almost didn’t vote when I heard McCain say we don’t have to fear anything from an Obama presidency. I knew the fix was in but held my nose anyway and did my duty.
Just read my tag line for the reason why she wasn’t at the top of the ticket.
He personally wanted Joe Lieberman (Yes, Al Gore’s Joe Lieberman) but was talked out of it.
You can’t only consider where he would have been without Palin, but how would he have effected the Republican vote if he had, as rumored, chosen Lieberman? You might not be too far off on your initial projection.
Her job was to push this old tired coot over the finish line when all he kept saying was “he seems like a nice guy” and would never talk about the many many things everyone else was yelling at the top of thier lungs about this imposter and would never step up to the plate. He deserved to lose and so did romulus. No one challenegd him to a fight because they were afraid of his half blackness that would have turned into a full blackness when attacked
The facts have never gotten in the way of the MSM writing a hit piece of the right. The problem is that the e-GOP either believes it or chooses to lose rather than give up being RINOs.
Palin scared the heck out of Obama because of her appeal to Walmart moms . If she’d had free reign to run her side of the campaign, she would have forced Obama into even more errors and revealed his nastiness and lack of cool (”lipstick on a pig;” “fish wrap”) in unpredictable ways. Mc Cain’s suspending the campaign took that off the rails.
It was Fred Thompson’s idea first to have her as a running mate.
In retrospect (and given the malicious anti-TEA attacks), what the hell was the RNC thinking?
I voted for Sarah. Too bad there isn’t a way to switch out the Pres/VP ballot spots at the voting booth.
I voted for Sarah Palin. What’s his name, that dim-witted RINO, just happened to be taking up space on the ballot.
Palin got my vote some jerk was along for the ride
I loathed McCain and was determined that he was going to be the first GOP candidate in my life that I refused to vote for. The selection of Palin changed that in a split-second, and I cast my vote (for HER) with a level of enthusiasm that I had not experienced since the days of Ronald Reagan.
A study wasn’t necessary. It was obvious to anyone with a brain paying attention that it was only as close as it was because of Palin. McCain got about 60-million votes. 10-million of those voters wouldn’t have crossed the street to shake his hand. They voted for Palin. Without her, McCain gets a Mondale type beating.
She brought 20 points to the table, I don’t care what anyone says.
My state GOP coordinator echos the sentiment that because of her, McCain lost 20 points.
He lost 20 points, because he was campaigning for Hussein.
He did everything he could to throw the race.
He was a palooka, plain and simple.
Same here. Captain Queeg disgusts me but Sarah gave me hope that all was not lost.
It was McCain who damaged Palin, not vice versa. I wish she hadn’t run with him, because after four more successful years governing AK, she would have made the ideal candidate in 2012. What might have been...
I make this exact point every time somebody starts in on Palin's intellect. It generally causes them to short circuit for a second or two as they recognize the truth and then have to quickly reroute the hate through a new logic path in their brains.
Little John got more votes than Romney did. Without Palin
Little John would just been a Rino HOBBIT.
I am not at all surprised by this, as hubby and I voted for Palin -— not McCain. He just happened to be on the ballot with her.
Joe is sexy. That’s the meme they trotted out in 2012.
Romney received about a million more votes than McCain.
HOW STUPID MUST A POLITICAL PARTY BE THAT RUNS 'FECKLESS JOHN MCLAME' FOR ANY PUBLIC OFFICE.......
IT JUST DEFIES BELIEF
McCain, Romney, Dole, (and even both Bushes). The (s)Hits Just Keep On Comin’.
I totally agree with that. That’s why it has been so hard for me to buy into the ‘she owed him’ line.
She did him a massive favor by agreeing to be tainted by being associated with him on his ticket. Then his crew mistreated her. He said nothing. Dissed her when she was mentioned for a run herself.
What more did/does it take to see this guy for who he was and is?
Without Palin he would have lost by another 15-20 points easy.
He’s the worst candidate the party has nominated in the history of the Republican Party.
Frankly, I saw McCain for who he was and realized he would have given Palin the Lyndon Johnson (ex: John and Robert Kennedy’s treatment of him) treatment after Kennedy had won.
John would have relegated her to emptying the trash, and not contributing to any worthwhile policy decisions.
There’s no way her views would have fit into his plans.
She should have simply refused to lift his campaign up. I’ve never faulted her for joining the ticket, but if you get right down to it, she wasn’t going to improve his terms in office.
And let’s not forget the instaneous boost in campaign contributions that began on the eve of her nomination/acceptance speech and continued throughout the campaign. The RNC and Mac’s folk were sure happy to publish the big inflow for about two weeks. Sure would like to see the number of dollars that rolled in earmarked as being donated because of Gov. Palin. Mine certainly were.
Once Gov. Palin’s consistent ability to outdraw the Groper nominee, they shut the hell up and started presenting their hind quarters to the mystery mullah. And proceeded to sandbag and ambush Gov. Palin. I will never forget nor forgive the silence of the RNC, GOP, and the previous GOP contenders as the MSM stooped to the lowest and vilest personal attacks on the Gov. And her family. Not one man among them remained a steadfast ass-kicking defender to the end of the fight. Not one. Will despise these so called men til my dying day.
Not according to this Freeper post
“McCain got MORE votes in 2008 than Romney in 2012. In fact, McCain got 2,124,424 MORE VOTES than Romney !!”
Obama got 9 million more votes the first time around than the second time.
oh, please! Don’t pass off this crap here. Geez...
Out of the four people on the 2008 ticket, Sarah Palin was the only one who was reasonably sane, and the only one reasonably qualified to be President.
No kidding. As an addendum to my earlier post about how Palin’s selection boosted my enthusiasm to levels I hadn’t experienced since Reagan’s days, it was the aftermath involving the loathesome GOP/RNC’s complete backstabbing of Palin that totally destroyed my opinion of the Republican Party. Had been an exclusive GOP supporter and voter my entire life, but after this, I lost every tiny shred of trust, faith, and respect I once had for the GOP.
Same for me. She was as electrifying at the convention as Ronald Reagan in his 1964 convention speech. And both times I said, “The Republicans nominated the wrong person, they’re going to lose.”
Read my tagline.
Before the RNC convention, McCain was behind about 8 pts. Post Palin convention speech, McCain was up 4 pts.....a 12 pts swing.....and that was all Palin.
Before Palin, McCain rallies got a few hundred. With Palin, they had to move to bigger venues as she drew tens of thousands.
At the 2008 financial crisis, McCain shut down the campaign, went into prevent defense mode and used Sarah as a “fall guy prop”.
McCain simply gave up and got some of the worst advice ever from losers Steve Schmidt and Nicole Wallace.
I did not vote for John McCain in 2008. I voted for Sarah Palin. It’s not my fault McCain was also on the ticket.
Duh is right. One can easily envision the dimensions
of McCain’s historic loss without Mrs. Palin.
An Obama mandate would have been claimed, it was any
I voted for Sarah.
I hoped the old Manchurian Candidate would sod off in his term, and she would become President.
Sarah was worth at least 10 million votes for McDogPoop.
Sarah will be President No. 45.
She has more testicular fortitude than the entire GOP-E.
All I know, is that when it came to the vote, I voted for Sarah! McNuts be damned!