Palin Costing McCain Support in Florida
The St. Petersburg Times has been conducting focus group testing on undecided voters.
Five weeks ago, the St. Petersburg Times convened a group of Tampa Bay voters who were undecided about the presidential election. Their strong distrust of Barack Obama suggested it was a group ripe for John McCain to win over.
Not anymore. The group has swung dramatically, if unenthusiastically, toward Democrat Obama. Most of them this week cited the same reason: Sarah Palin.
Among the comments: [More...]
"The one thing that frightens me more than anything else are the ideologues. We've seen too many," said 80-year-old Air Force veteran Donn Spegal, a lifelong Republican from St. Petersburg who sees McCain's new running mate as the kind of "wedge issue" social conservative that has made him disenchanted with his party.
"I'm truly offended by Palin,'' said Republican Philinia Lehr, 37, of Largo, a full-time mother with a nursing degree who voted for George Bush in 2004. Like Palin, she has five children and she doesn't buy that the Alaska governor can adequately balance her family and the vice presidency.
"That was almost insulting," Democrat Rhonda Laris of Temple Terrace, another strong Clinton backer skeptical of Obama, said of the Palin pick. "Do they think we're really stupid? … I'm definitely leaning toward the Democratic side now. Sarah Palin scares the crap out of me."
One thing about these voters. They are not supporting Obama because they have been persuaded by him. It's opposition to Palin.
Obama is not making inroads because of anything he has done or said. It's more that McCain has repelled these swing voters in the biggest battleground region of the biggest battleground state. In several cases, voters who had sounded hungry for a reason to vote for McCain now sound resigned to settling for Obama.
Sarah Palin, Polarizer in Chief.
On a related note, Marist released poll results today showing Obama doing better than McCain in Ohio, PA and Michigan.
Update: Republican strategist Ed Rollins just said on Anderson Cooper's show that if Sarah Palin is still the topic in a few weeks, the Republicans won't win.
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