Wasn't Sarah Palin Supposed To Help John McCain In The Mountain West?
by Todd Beeton, Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 11:39:56 AM EDT
Certainly, in choosing Sarah Palin to be his running mate, John McCain has managed to take Alaska and North Dakota off the table. They are swing states no longer. But there seemed to be the assumption that her appeal...and their collective appeal as "Two Westerners versus a Midwesterner and an Easterner" as Sean at 538 puts it, would accrue to their benefit all throughout the Mountain West. Turns out there's evidence that the further south you go, the more Sarah Palin appears to be having the reverse effect.
Public Policy Polling has begun to poll New Mexico (1,037 LVs, Sept. 17-19, MOE +/- 3%), only to find the state may be out of reach for John McCain.
And how does Sarah Palin fare in the poll?
Sarah Palin is not very popular with New Mexico voters. While 38% said her selection made them more likely to vote for John McCain, 46% said it made them less likely to do so. Among independents 47% said her place on the ticket made them less likely to vote Republican. Overall Barack Obama has a 16 point advantage with that demographic.
Since PPP doesn't have a trendline in New Mexico, it's interesting to note that, per Pollster, in the first three polls taken in the state after the choice of Palin was announced (ranging from 9/8-9/15) Obama's average lead was 2.3%; in the most recent three polls (ranging from 9/14-9/19) Obama's average lead is up to 8.67%.
Certainly, not all of this falls on Palin's shoulders, but as PPP notes in the analysis of its new Colorado poll (1,084 LVs, Sept. 20-21, MOE +/- 3%), there is a direct correlation between Palin's favorables and McCain's poll numbers.
First, take a look at their new numbers (9/8-9 results in parentheses):
Obama 51 (47)
McCain 44 (46)
An 8 point swing in 12 days. Now, how is this result related to Sarah Palin's favorables, defined as whether or not Sarah Palin's addition to the ticket makes respondents more or less likely to vote for McCain?
A precipitous drop in Sarah Palins approval may be helping to fuel Obamas gains. Immediately after the convention 41% of Colorado voters said that her selection made them more likely to vote for John McCain, compared to 38% who said it made them less likely to do so. Since then theres been a 12 point drop in her net favorability. Now just 38% say that she makes them more likely to vote for the Republican, with 47% saying theyre less likely to do so.
Or put another way (thanks to PPP's blog for the chart):
Date 9/9 9/21 Palin favorability 41/38 38/47 Spread Obama +1 Obama + 7
No doubt other factors, such as the economy, have played a role in Obama's surge out West, but it's hard not to conclude that John McCain is beginning to have a Sarah Palin problem there as well.