The Palin Effect

I saw this linked on a blog (Chait, I think) and was intrigued.   I’m at the beach, so I’m not actually going to read the article, but I can say that it is highly-respected political scientists making the claim that Palin actually cost McCain 2% in the 2008 election:

In this paper, we leverage a 10-wave election panel to examine the relative and dynamic effects of voter evaluations of Bush, Palin, Biden, McCain, and Obama in the 2008 presidential election. We show that the effects of these political figures on vote choice evolves through the campaign, with the predictive effects of President Bush declining after the nominees are known, and the effects of the candidates (and Palin), increasing towards Election Day…Finally, we estimate the “Palin effect,” based on individual-level changes in favorability towards the vice-presidential nominee, and conclude that her campaign performance cost McCain just under 2% of the final vote share.

Perhaps one of these days I’ll do Political Scientist due diligence and actually read this (or, at least the tables), but I’m still really surprised by that 2% figure.  Given all the historical circumstances working against him, I just really have a hard time seeing McCain getting 48% just  because he picks Tim Pawlenty instead of Palin.  Nonetheless, how anybody can look at this and think Sarah Palin would be a good nominee for the Republicans in 2012 is beyond me.  She’s Obama’s dream opponent.

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