Sunday, 10 January 2010
Sarah Palin's popularity - The Myth
When John McCain launched Sarah Palin on the national stage, much was said about her popularity ratings.
How does one measure popularity in a state so huge and so sparsely populated as Alaska?
Our good friend Barb Dwyer gave us a good first-hand account regarding the peculiarities of the electorate in Alaska:
There's a few things to consider here. It's true she did bluff her way into office in a way, it was more of I won't say anything other than I'm Republican and I'm NOT Frank Murkowski. She dodged interviews, dodged debates, dodged just about anything where she would have to speak. She was in awe of her opponents knowledge but admitted to Andrew Halcro that she thought that when it came to your average voter, knowledge of facts and figures just doesn't matter. In Alaska more than anywhere else this is probably true. People just don't pay attention as a whole for a wide variety of reasons. Distrust of Government in general, really bad TV coverage, even worse newpapers and the fact that many people watch or read neither. This is a state that continues to try and elect Ted Stevens and Don Young no matter how much criminal activity they may be involved with. We also have, I believe, 11 other legislators currently sitting in Federal prisons with more on the way. Most I'm sure could be re-elected when they are released. It really is that pathetic. So another crook running for a high position is business as usual up here.
When a person says they are pregnant, people believe them. There's no reason really to question someone and especially when your Governor tells you this. People just thought, well that's weird and went about their business. I watch our horrible new broadcasts all the time and I would bet that over the period she said she was pregnant, I saw her on TV maybe 3 times. She always sends her spokesmen and department heads to do her talking for her. People would question that aspect and wonder why she couldn't speak for herself but that's how she did it. She was always very elusive, hell the legislature couldn't even find her half the time. There were bumper stickers all over Juneau saying "Sarah the jobs in Juneau" because she was always hiding out eating crunch wraps.
The only reason her ratings were so high is because she essentially bribed her constituents with the energy rebate checks. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. She was widely disliked after announcing AGIA and that would not have looked good for her VP nod. So being the socialist that she is, she sent everyone in the state a check for $1,200 and the people danced with glee. Then they took that poll that everyone refers to right after everyone got home from purchasing their new plasma TV and they all loved the Governor who gave them free money. She was running a con game and a shell game all at the same time, knowing the low information voters of this state would stay oblivious to most, if not all of what was going on. She had the ADN in her back pocket (they had a shrine to her online) and that's really all she needed to pull off all of her shenanigans.
I walked around with a shirt I made the day after she quit, that said "Dude where's my Governor" inside an outline of Alaska that was blue and gold, the colors of our flag. For a full 2 months I had people who live here asking me what that was about. They had NO idea the woman had quit. That just goes to show how little people pay attention to what's going on in politics here.
The distances also play into the equation. I remember when MSNBC went out to Little Diomede to show the only place in Alaska you can see an island that belongs to Russia. They asked the Mayor if Sarah had ever been there and he replied that she hadn't. His next question was why was this news crew way out in Little Diomede. They had to inform him that SP had been given the VP nod. The Mayor of Little Diomede had no idea she had been tapped for that position. News travels slow up here if it gets anywhere at all. It's just the reality of this state. Could she have pulled this off anywhere else? I seriously doubt it.
Alaska has a tiny population. According to the 2008 census, there are 686,293 people spread over 586,412 square miles, or 1.17 inhabitants per square mile.
Sarah Palin received 48.33% of the vote in the election for governor, 114,697 votes. That's based on the number of people who voted, but it represents only 22% of the total number of people entitled to vote.
Wasilla had 5,469 inhabitants in 2000. Sarah Palin was elected mayor in 1996 and re-elected in 1999. Based on the number of inhabitants above, of the people elligible to vote, only 20% voted in 1996 and 22% in 1999.
Let's have a look at the actual figures on all three occasions.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Mike Huckabee said Sarah Palin had more votes in the mayoral poll than Joe Biden had in the primaries. Biden had 63,157 votes, which is a bit higher than 909...
It doesn't seem too difficult to reach a high percentage of the votes in a place like Alaska. People are scattered all over the place, in very isolated, remote areas. Of the 506,485 people elligible to vote, only 47% actually voted in 2006 (the figures may be slightly out, as they're based on a 2008 census estimate).
The same would hold true for popularity ratings. The samples would not reflect the state as a whole. A bribe of $1,200 surely helped improve things a bit.
The figures we've seen above hardly indicate overwhelming popularity or unbridled enthusiasm for Sarah Palin.
John McCain helped perpetuate the myth when he announced Sarah Palin as his running mate.
Although they lost the election, the damage was done. McCain unleashed this nightmare that is Sarah Palin, she went rogue and the rest is history.
Her so-called popularity in her own state was seriously damaged and her ratings plummeted after November 2008, culminating in her resignation from the office of governor in July 2009.
Granny Grifter has replaced the supporters she had in Alaska with shiny new $upporters from the Lower 48. That could have been one of her motives for quitting... a fresh supply of $upporter$!