John Sides over at The Monkey Cage, freshly back from the Midwest Political Science Association conference over the weekend, has an interesting post* up this morning from a paper that was presented there. The paper by Richard Johnston and Emily Thorson uses the 2008 National Annenberg Election Study to examine the relationship between the candidates' poll standing over the last few months of the election, survey respondents' economic evaluations and the presidential and vice presidential candidate favorability ratings over the course of that period as well.
The weird thing? McCain's polls numbers, overall economic evaluations and Sarah Palin's favorability track almost exactly. As John says, "It's eerie."
It is and this is all interestingly suggestive, but is it possible that Palin was something of a reverse Obama during the campaign. No, I don't mean ideologically; that's fairly obvious. My angle here is that during Obama's emergence prior to the 2008 primaries, the then-senator from Illinois was still an unknown quantity. Those on the left paid more attention to the build up to the nomination race more and some on that side attached their hopes and dreams to Obama's run. Obama, say, would have had more movement in his support numbers when information emerged (negative or positive) than if something newsworthy broke on Hillary Clinton.
Well, Sarah Palin was that unknown quantity on the Republican side, but she was introduced during a much more hyper-partisan period than Obama. Folks -- on the right especially -- attached their hopes and dreams to her in a way similar to what Obama enjoyed over a much less partisan period and over a much longer length of time. But because of the general election environment in which she was introduced, folks on the left and some in the middle attached their negative feelings on the economy and the general state of things to her -- and apparently the McCain campaign -- as well.
Very interesting stuff. And what's more, the economic evaluations fluctuate more than what I glean from Tom Holbrook they did in the NES.
*Head on over and check out the graphs. Great visuals of the trend.
Presidential Candidate Emergence: An Alternate Measure
The 2012 Presidential Primary Calendar (4/4/09)
Georgia in 2012: Back to March?