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
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