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The Collective
Tuesday, September 9, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Sean Quinn at 538 has rundown on the Road to 270: Alabama.

He concludes that Bama will go red again this cycle.

Shocking, I know, but he actually has some interesting data that are worth a looksee.

Really, the only drama here is the aforementioned AL02 race.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via Ballot Access News: Montana Constitution Party Submits Presidential Electors Pledged to Ron Paul and Michael Peroutka

The party informed the Secretary of State that its electors are pledged to Ron Paul for president and Michael Peroutka for vice-president.

According to the post, Paul is aware and does not object, as long he can remain uninvolved in the process.

h/t: 538

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via Foreign Policy:

  • The List: McCain’s 10 Worst Ideas
  • The List: Obama’s 10 Worst Ideas

Which ideas are worse, I will leave up to the reader.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

I have made it clear that I find the selection of Sarah Paling to be questionable from a resume perspective and risky from a political one. Having said that, I have to say that WaPo’s story on Sarah Palin’s per diem payments and travel reimbursements strike me as barely newsworthy, and certainly nothing scandalous: Palin Billed State for Nights Spent at Home.

In reading the story it is clear that she broke no laws and didn’t even take the maximum allowed amount under state law. It seems to me that if one draws a salary and one also is allowed to draw a per diem under specified circumstances, then the per diem is part of one’s compensation package. And the big “scandal” that she drew per diem while staying at her own home, it should be noted that she didn’t take money for lodgings, but for only expenses.

Even if one wants to attack on the fiscal responsibility angle, one has to give her credit for not maintaining a personal chef and for selling the private jet (even if it ultimately didn’t sell on eBay). Indeed, one suspects that she saved the state more money in those actions than she cost them in per diem.

What this story will do is add to the McCain campaign’s narrative that the press is out to get them.

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Sunday, September 7, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the AP: Palin offers first TV interview to ABC News

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin plans to sit down later this week for her first television interview since John McCain chose her as his running mate more than a week ago.

Good deal.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

Jake Tapper at ABC’s Political Punch, blogs the comments of McCain campaign manager Rick Davis on Fox News Sunday that I noted in a comment this morning:

So when will she subject herself to questions?

“When we think it’s time and when she feels comfortable doing it,” Davis said, praising a Fox News Channel profile of Palin that ran last night.

Why is she scared of answering questions? Wallace asked.

“She’s not scared to answer questions,” Davis said, “but you know what? We run our campaign not the news media.”

Wallace said inappropriate intrusions into Palin’s family and personal life aside, there are legitimate questions about whether she is prepared to be vice president.

“Sarah Palin will have the opportinity (sic) to speak to the American people,” Davis said. “She will do interviews, but she’ll do them on the terms and conditions” the campaign decides.

I think this plays well with the base, who like the lashing out at the media. However, I maintain that the campaign directly stating that she will do interviews when she is “comfortable” undermines the argument that she is ready to be VP. If she isn’t ready to face the press on day one of the campaign, she is not ready to be president on day one.

Palin’s most quoted line from the convention speech was the one that likened a hockey mom to a pit bull, just with lipstick. Hiding from the press until certain “terms and conditions” can be established is not what one expects from a pit bull.

Palin may yet come out and wow us all and she may yet deftly answer all the questions directed at her. However, at this point, all we can do is guess.

And, to those who find the Politico distasteful, these are the words of the McCain campaign itself. I saw Davis say these words myself, and I would post the FNS transcript, but it hasn’t been posted yet.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the BBC: US rivals to make 9/11 appearance

The US presidential rivals, Barack Obama and John McCain have said they will appear together on the anniversary of the 11 September 2024 attacks.

The senators said they would take part in the commemorations in New York - the site of two of the attacks.

The two candidates said they would put aside politics to honour the memory of the nearly 3,000 people who died.

Good for them.

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Saturday, September 6, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the Politico: Sarah Palin has yet to meet the press

When political junkies flip through television stations on Sunday morning, they’ll find policy-driven interviews with three of the four candidates on the presidential tickets — John McCain, Barack Obama and Joe Biden. They won’t, though, see Sarah Palin.

Less than two months before voters hit the polls, Palin has yet to sit down for or even schedule an issues-oriented interview with any newspaper, magazine or television network.

Strategically, this is probably a good idea, as keeping her away from reporters diminished the chances of an embarrassing mistake. However, what message is being sent by the McCain campaign by keeping Palin away from the press? If she is supposed to be the person who could be the president in the not too distant future and therefore ready to face off with foreign leaders, yet she can’t talk Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press? Is she not even ready to venture out to the safe environs of Fox News? This is truly remarkable.

It also lends credence to the notion that the selection was a late pick and a roll of the dice. They don’t really know what they are going to get once she starts talking and answering questions in an unscripted environment.

In fact, the McCain campaign has only allowed her access to one media outlet since being named to the ticket: People magazine.

Larry Hackett, managing editor of People, said the McCain campaign offered the magazine an opportunity to photograph McCain and “Nominee TK” at the Aug. 29 event in Dayton.

In addition to a brief Q&A with both Republicans (as well as their spouses and McCain’s daughter Meghan) and an accompanying article that was mostly based on months-old reporting, the magazine also ran a lifestyle feature on Palin’s life as a working mother running a statehouse and her own house.

Well, that will no doubt help us learn more about someone seeking high office.

I know that I have been critical of the selection, and so many may dismiss my criticism here as nothing but piling on. But seriously: doesn’t it say something about the quality of the pick that we, the public, are only allowed to see her in a controlled environment to this point? It isn’t even clear as to how long it will be before she emerges to face the press. Surely if she is the future of the party she should be ready to deal with reporters?

Indeed, if McCain adviser Nicolle Wallace is anything to go by, it would seem that the campaign holds that notion in contempt:

Granted, the new strategy is to paint the media as the enemy, but this is going beyond that. And while a lot of people may hold the media in contempt, the bottom line is that in a democracy the mass media are the main way by which we, the voters, gain information about candidates and government. To withhold Palin from the press isn’t just withholding her from the Liberal MediaTM, it is withholding her from the voters.

Along these same lines, ABC’s Jake Tapper blogged yesterday: Palin Media Avoidance Watch, Day Seven

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was named to the Republican ticket one week ago, and she has yet to answer questions from reporters.

Make it day eight (unless one counts this).

Update: I was watching Fox New Watch this evening and Cal Thomas further confirmed that the campaign is not allowing access to Palin, as her tried to get an interview, and no go. And Thomas is hardly hostile to the McCain campaign.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via Gallup: Obama’s Lead Shrinks to 2 Points.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

Yesterday, polling information was released about public reaction to Sarah Palin, including the Rasmussen headline “Palin Power: Fresh Face Now More Popular Than Obama, McCain.” The Rasmussen poll noted the following:

Perhaps most stunning is the fact that Palin’s favorable ratings are now a point higher than either man at the top of the Presidential tickets this year. As of Friday morning, Obama and McCain are each viewed favorably by 57% of voters.

In other words, they are really tied in terms of favorability.

First, let’s consider what we are dealing with here: she has made all of two major media appearances in less than a week (her speech at her introduction and her acceptance speech at the RNC). This isn’t exactly a lot of data to go on, making the stability of the numbers questionable at best. McCain supporters who wish to use these numbers as evidence of much of anything need to be careful, in other words. When it comes to polling, the usefulness of the poll is directly related to the amount of knowledge in the public about the question being asked. That public knowledge of Palin is incomplete is indisputable.

As such, the notion that these are “stunning” numbers is rather questionable, especially given that Palin is still mostly a tabula rasa (in other words, she another Rorschach candidate).

Second, before one gets too wrapped up in the notion that she is more popular that sliced bread, let’s consider the actual numbers.

It is true that Palin’s favorability numbers match McCain and Obama’s (at least in ther Rasmussen poll) but that isn’t the whole story. Nat Silver at notes that in three polls released this week, Palin has good favorability to decent numbers: Rasmussen puts her, as noted above, at 58%, while ABC News puts her at 50% favorable, and Diageo/Hotline at 43%. It is unknown at the moment whether the Rasmussen number is more accurate than the Hotline one.

Regardless of that, when looking at favorability one also needs to look at unfavorability, as one can only get a complete picture of the public reaction to a person by looking at both numbers.

As Silver notes:

On average between these three polls, Palin is regarded favorably by 50.3 percent of voters, and unfavorably by 33.0 percent of voters, for a net score of +17.3

Specifically, in the Rasmussen poll, she has a 37% unfavorable rating, 37% in the ABC poll and a 25% in the Hotline poll. These are fairly high negatives.

We can compare that to recent veep nominees and we find the following: in 2024 Dick Cheney’s net number was +28.0% (he had far lower unfavorable then than Palin has now). Lieberman had a +33.0% in 2024 and John Edwards had +25.0% in 2024. Back to this year, Biden has a +17.0%

In summary, in looking at recent veepables, Palin’s net popularity is not as great as initial responses might suggest:

+33.0% (Lieberman, 2024)

+28.0%     (Cheney, 2024)

+25.0% (Edwards, 2024)

+17.3% (Palin, 2024)

+17.0% (Biden, 2024)

If anything, 2024 is an odd year, as both candidates have running mates that have relatively high negatives. The real question is whether Palin’s numbers will improve or worsen. Biden, a fairly well known quantity, is unlikely to change very much.

To get to the presidential candidates we find the following:

In the Hotline poll, McCain’s favorable are 52% and his unfavorable are 38% (for a net of +14%) and Obama is 58%/35% (for a net of +23%). As such, within that poll, Palin is 43%/24% (+18%). As such, in that poll only (I can’t find favorable/unfavorable number for McCain and Obama in either ABC or Rasmussen, so I will leave them out for now), Obama (+23%) is the most popular, Palin (+18%) second and McCain (+14%) third, at least in terms of net. With, of course, the caveats about public knowledge noted above to be figured into any assessment as to the ultimate usefulness of the numbers.

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