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Greta: The Palin Effect – Taking a Look at Polls from 2008

Yesterday, I covered some comments made by James E. Campbell, who stated that:

“As to Palin, I think that, on balance, she helped McCain. He went into the conventions behind and came out ahead. The later drop was tied to the financial meltdown. The evidence of that was that Bush’s approval numbers, as low as they were, dropped further and at the same time as McCain. There is no reason why Palin would have cost Bush approval points.”

I then composed some polls from the time that backed up Mr. Campbell’s assertion.

Strangely, Greta Van Susteren covered the same topic on Tuesday. Her piece (which only came to my attention this morning) didn’t use Mr. Campbell’s comments, she used different polling data, but she still proved that it was the financial crisis that cost McCain the 2008 election. She wrote:

I have heard so much about whether Governor Palin was good for the 2008 Republican ticket or not – so I decided to do something a bit old-fashioned. I went back and looked at some facts. I looked at the Fox News Channel poll numbers from the Presidential race of 2008. What I discovered was quite interesting and may rub against what has become the conventional wisdom for some as to why Senator McCain’s poll numbers went down late in the fall.

I looked at 3 sets of polls –

1/ how Senator McCain was doing right JUST BEFORE he selected Governor Palin as a running mate;

2/ how Senator McCain was doing RIGHT AFTER he chose her; and


Polling from 2008/Financial Crisis dates and polling

1 Pre-Palin polling

-If the 2008 presidential election were held today (August 19-20), would you vote for Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain?

McCain 39%

Obama 42%

Other/don’t know 19%

* Senator McCain was losing by 3 points BEFORE he announced Gov Palin his running mate

2. Palin was announced as McCain’s running mate on August 29, 2008

Post-Palin polling

-If the 2008 presidential election were held today (September 8-9,2008), would you vote for:

McCain/Palin 45%

Obama/Biden 42%

Other 2%

Don’t know 10%

* After Governor Palin was selected as the running mate, Senator McCain was up 3 points (thus a 6 point increase after Governor Palin was chosen.)

3. and two Post-financial crisis polling (September 22-23, 2008)

Obama/Biden 45%

McCain/Palin 39%

Other 2%

Don’t know 13%

I looked at another poll regarding the post financial crisis and the numbers were essentially the same.

Post-financial crisis polling (October 8-9, 2008)

Obama/Biden 46%

McCain/Palin 39%

Other 3%

Don’t know 11%

* After the financial crisis, Senator McCain’s number cratered 6 points.

[Source: Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll; – Sample is 900 registered voters; MOE ±3%]

Read the whole piece here.

Greta didn’t cover George W. Bush’s numbers from the time, but the polls she used still verify the timeline. This information added to the RCP average polling data from yesterday, is just more proof how wrong those who would maliciously try to point their finger at Governor Palin for the outcome of the 2008 presidential race, are. Those who do so always have an agenda, and truth has nothing to do with it.


(H/T: Gary Jackson)

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