Indisputable Technical Analysis: "No, Sarah Palin Did Not Cost McCain the Presidency"
Not that it will the slightest difference to the Palin haters, especially those in the GOP and especially those who were in the McCain camp in 2008 . Especially those who subsequently tried to shift the responsibility for the loss from them to Palin. But here is, another, hugely detailed analysis of why McCain lost. And no, it was not because of Palin for the umteenth time. DUSTIN HAWKINS does a great job.
No, Sarah Palin Did Not Cost McCain the Presidency
To the point of redundancy, every discussion of Romney's eventual vice-presidential pick always leads to a snarky comment about "avoiding a Palin" or how Palin lost the election for John McCain. The argument is old and tired. But more importantly, the argument is false. To believe that Palin "cost" McCain anything you would have to ignore all poll data before and after Palin was selected, the enormous cash advantage of Obama, the historical obsession with Obama, the ad-war landslide in favor of Obama, McCain's odd campaign suspension, and the fact that before Palin, McCain could barely fill a high school gymnasium. So, let's examine reality and put the Palin-bashing to bed.
If you look at the 60 polls prior to Palin being selected as McCain's running-mate taken from June 1st through August 29th this is what you would find:
John McCain and Obama tied in 2 polls John McCain led Obama in 5 Polls Barack Obama led John McCain in 53 polls.
Yes, for every one poll that showed a McCain lead, Obama held a lead in 10 polls. In that span, Obama's lead in the polls was close to 6 points, fairly similar to the final outcome. I'm not sure how it was Palin's fault that McCain was getting throttled before anyone knew who she was.
A week after the selection of Palin, the Republicans would hold their nominating convention and Palin delivered a speech for the ages. Her favorable numbers immediately soared. In fact, her favorable numbers at that point were greater than those of Barack Obama. A CNN Poll had Palin's favorable ratings at +30 (Obama was +26), Newsweek had Palin at +30 (Obama at +20), and NBC News had Palin at +20 (Obama +21). The McCain-Palin ticket suddenly lead Obama-Biden in 7 polls, tied in 3, and trailed in just 2. Palin's highlight-reel speech was a big factor, but a bit of those leads had a lot to do with the traditional "post-convention bounce," too.
Many try to blame the campaign's subsequent downfall on Palin's interview with Katie Couric, but that doesn't sit well with the facts either. After the convention bounce, and before the Palin-Couric interview, Obama led McCain in 8 straight polls by margins of 5, 6, 5, 1, 4, 2, 9, and 4 points.
So why did John McCain really lose?
First, the real turning point was when McCain ridiculously and bizarrely "suspended" his campaign on September 24, 2008 due to the financial crisis. He led in one of a dozen polls before the announcement (by 1 point), and would go on to trail in every one of the 100+ polls taken and included in the RCP average following that move.
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