From Greg Mitchell at Editor & Publisher:
NEW YORK (Commentary) In the months after the November election, and then gaining even more attention as Barack Obama became president, are charges that the media helped elect him by attacking, of mocking, Sarah Palin. Numerous pundits and conservative activists have alleged that she had given John McCain a big boost in the polls when first named and that she would have help drive him to victory if not for the later treatment by Katie and Tina and Charlie Gibson and all the rest.
But this is not true.
In fact, she never really helped him except with his “base,” which he would have won over anyway. She never had broadbased appeal and,[…] McCain had been fooled by false media coverage of the purported huge number of Hillary Clinton fans (women and the working class) who were eager to bolt Obama for the GOP. This never came to pass.
In reality, the undermining of Palin happened well before the networks and SNL got to her. Her home state paper, the Anchorage Daily News was quick to expose elements of her past that raised questions and just days after she was named the Fairbanks, Alaska daily called her choice by McCain a silly one.
Here is an excerpt from my book from September 1, 2008, on the surprising poll results just as Palin was gaining the GOP nod and well before the negative stories in the national press appeared.
A new CNN/Opinion Research poll released today shows that he contest between Barack Obama and John McCain — after the twin “bounces” of the past few days — remains essentially tied, with Obama leading at 49% to 48%. But what’s most intriguing are the results regarding McCain’s choice for veep, who was expected to draw more women to the GOP ticket.
In fact, men seem to be more impressed with this move than women. Just now, this seems to be confirmed by a CBS poll, showing Obama with a 48% to 40% lead overall — but with a wide lead among women, at 50% to 36%, which has only widened. Only 13% of women said they might be more likely to vote for McCain because of Palin, with 11% saying they are now less likely.
CBS also reports: “Before the Democratic convention, McCain enjoyed a 12-point advantage with independent voters, but now Obama leads among this group 43 percent to 37 percent….The poll shows an increase in the number of Obama voters who are enthusiastic about him.”
As for the CNN poll: “Women now appear slightly more likely to vote for Obama than they did a week ago, 53 percent now, compared to 50 percent,” reports Keating Holland, CNN’s director of polling. “But McCain picked up a couple of points among men. […] The Palin selection did not help among women — that may come later — but it did appeal to Republican loyalists.”
“If McCain was hoping to boost his share of the women’s vote, it didn’t work,” Holland said. And USA Today/Gallup has just released its post-Palin poll showing that Obama has widened his lead from four points to 50% – 43%.
Here is an excerpt from the CNN report: “Is Palin qualified to be president? Fifty percent say she is unqualified to assume the presidency if that becomes necessary; 45 percent say she’s prepared for the White House. In recent history, the only running mate to earn less confidence from the public was Vice President Dan Quayle in 1992.
“Three quarters of all voters think McCain chose a female running mate specifically because he thought adding a woman to the Republican ticket would help him win in November.”
Greg Mitchell’s new book is “Why Obama Won.”