Remember when McCain was actually beating Obama in the polls for little while? McCain chose Sarah Palin on August 29th, and instead of the Democratic convention giving Obama a bounce, McCain enjoyed his highest numbers for the next week, with his greatest gains coming after Palin’s convention speech, which almost beat McCain’s ratings for his acceptance speech.
All we knew about Sarah Palin at the time was that she was sexy, went to a Bible church, had five children with crazy fun names, loved her husband who was a snowmachine racer and union member, was a hunter and hockey mom, and was solidly pro-life – didn’t think about aborting her perfect son Trig. Even Bristol’s pregnancy helped McCain’s polling numbers, especially when we saw Levi standing by her uncomfortably in a suit. If the election were held after that first week, McCain would have won.
Then someone made disastrous decisions about what sort of interviews she’d give, and instead of going with the social-issues strength that was winning approval, they concentrated on shoring up her weak areas, and ended up confirming the Tina Fey impression of her. And then came the manufactured economic crisis right on time, and the media was able to ignore the social issues again.
So, before anyone tries to pin any blame for this on Palin and her social issues, look at the graph.