Palin Dragging McCain Down?
A NYT/CBS poll shows that a strong majority of voters believe Sarah Palin is unqualified for the vice presidency and a third saying this would affect their vote:
All told, 59 percent of voters surveyed said Ms. Palin was not prepared for the job, up nine percentage points since the beginning of the month. Nearly a third of voters polled said the vice-presidential selection would be a major factor influencing their vote for president, and those voters broadly favor Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee.
And in a possible indication that the choice of Ms. Palin has hurt Mr. McCain’s image, voters said they had much more confidence in Mr. Obama to pick qualified people for his administration than they did in Mr. McCain.
The increase in the number of voters who said Ms. Palin was not prepared was driven almost entirely by Republicans and independents.
Over all, views of Ms. Palin were apparently shaped more by ideology and party than by gender. Ms. Palin was viewed as unprepared for the job by about 6 in 10 men and women alike. But 8 in 10 Democrats viewed her as unprepared, as well as more than 6 in 10 independents and 3 in 10 Republicans.
The bold highlighted text is key here: A third of self-identified Republicans and two-thirds of independents think Palin unprepared.
The former includes the likes of former Secretary of State Larry Eagleburger, who said in an NPR appearance yesterday in which he was making the case for a McCain presidency that, “of course” she’s not ready.
Asked by the host whether Palin could step in during a time of crisis, Eagleburger reverted to sarcasm before leveling the harsh blow.
“It is a very good question,” he said, pausing a few seconds, then adding with a chuckle: “I’m being facetious here. Look, of course not.”
Eagleburger explained: “I don’t think at the moment she is prepared to take over the reigns of the presidency. I can name for you any number of other vice presidents who were not particularly up to it either. So the question, I think, is can she learn and would she be tough enough under the circumstances if she were asked to become president, heaven forbid that that ever takes place?
“Give her some time in the office and I think the answer would be, she will be [pause] adequate. I can’t say that she would be a genius in the job. But I think she would be enough to get us through a four year… well I hope not… get us through whatever period of time was necessary. And I devoutly hope that it would never be tested.”
Looking at the polls, I’m pretty sure she won’t.
The conventional wisdom has long been that people don’t vote based on the VP pick; it would be odd, indeed, if the trend were broken in the wrong direction. Then again, given the economic meltdown, Bush’s popularity, and Obama’s money, it may well have been that McCain could have chosen a candidate who combined all the virtues of Ronald Reagan, Abe Lincoln, and George Washington and not pulled it off.