Palin’s Popularity

By Samantha Hayes in Washington

At the Republican convention a couple weeks ago, Sarah Palin was so popular that an interesting question was being raised. Could John McCain’s new running mate outshine him? Palin, the fourth and final major party candidate to join in the presidential race certainly captured the country’s attention. On the campaign trail, McCain drew bigger crowds with Palin by his side.  At the grocery store, it was Palin’s face on the front of magazines at the check out counters. During a campaign that began early last year, the public has been inundated with John McCain and Barack Obama sound bites and commercials. And Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, has been  familiar face in the Senate for three decades. So the introduction of Governor Palin has been new and interesting. The question is whether the initial excitement over her selection has staying power. At least one prominent political figure says no.

Former Bush adviser Karl Rove told the Associated Press, “Will she be the center of attention in the remaining 48 days? No, but she came on in a very powerful way and has given a sense of urgency to the McCain campaign that’s pretty remarkable.” If Palin’s popularity is indeed waning, the first signs are showing up in recent polls.  A CBS News/New York Times poll that indicates her favorable rating is down 4 points from last week to 40 percent. That survey was conducted September 12-16.  And a CNN poll of polls out today shows Barack Obama leading McCain nationally by three points, 47-44.

So now the concern certainly isn’t whether Sarah Palin will overshadow John McCain.  In these final weeks the question is already changing from, “Who is Sarah Palin?’ to “Can the McCain-Palin ticket turn around the economy?” Both of them have to convince the American people, particularly those living in battleground states, that another Republican administration will be up to the job.

Samantha Hayes is a national correspondent for CNN Newsource based in Washington, D.C. She contributes political stories to KSAT-12. You can learn more about her here.

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