America was very, very excited when Sarah Palin burst onto the national stage at the end of August. She’s a woman, she’s from a strange land with extreme bouts of darkness and light, she kills moose, she has an exciting family life, and her convention speech showed she wasn’t afraid to throw some sass at her opponents. Joe Biden, on the other hand, was this kind of old, boring white guy who knew a lot about foreign policy. Some called McCain’s pick a stroke of strategic genius, and wondered if Barack Obama played it too safe. But as many also suspected, the stratospheric enthusiasm surrounding Palin couldn’t last. There’s no doubt that the Alaska governor has fired up a Republican base that had been lukewarm over McCain, and she’s been a boon to the ticket’s fund-raising. However, as voters have dug deeper into Palin’s, you know, actual record and positions, they’ve begun to sour on her — and swung the race back to Obama.
• Robin Toner and Adam Nagourney write that in the latest NYT/CBS News Poll, it seems “that Ms. Palin’s selection has, to date, helped Mr. McCain only among Republican base voters.” Though much was made of her possible appeal to former Hillary supporters, “there was no evidence of significantly increased support for [McCain] among women in general.” Six in ten were concerned about her ability to take over for McCain as president if necessary, and 75 percent thought she was chosen as McCain’s running mate to help win the election, not to govern. [NYT]
• John Dickerson says “the Palin novelty has started to wear off.” Obama has stopped talking about her and returned focus on McCain, and the Obama campaign’s “polling suggests initial interest in her is diminishing.” They “scoff” at the idea that Palin has put Iowa back in play. [Slate]
• Matthew Yglesias charts a steep drop in Palin’s net favorable rating over just the past week, from +17 to -1 according to one poll. He concludes that those who advised Obama to ignore Palin were clearly wrong; “when you attack someone, she becomes less popular.” [Think Progress]
• Ross Douthat was one such person, but disagrees with Yglesias that it was bad advice. Actually, “it’s advice that the Democratic ticket has largely taken over the past week-to-ten days.” Palin’s numbers have dropped because of “negative press reports on her Alaska career … ongoing coverage of the still-simmering Troopergate scandal — and especially by her widely-watched, none-too-impressive interview with Charlie Gibson.” The Democrats have “been doing a decent job of just getting out of the way, and leaving it to the media (and Palin herself) to undo her initial spike in popularity.” [Atlantic]
• Jim Geraghty believes the Palin “bounce appears to have run its course.” Why? Because “in just about every appearance [except for 9/11] Obama and Biden have been on the attack.” So far, that hasn’t cost Obama. [Campaign Spot/National Review]
• Craig Crawford calls it the “Palin Syndrome”: “what happens when someone gets more than their 15 minutes of fame — and what seemed like a rising star becomes a fiery crash.” At first appearing like a “fresh breeze,” Palin “is turning out to be exactly what some suspected in the beginning — a false breeze.” [CQ Politics]
• Allahpundit thinks that, according to the poll, women who recently swung toward McCain “were drawn to Palin, gave her a look, and … didn’t like what they saw.” [Hot Air]
• Chuck Todd and friends wonder: “Has Palin’s luster worn off? Has the bubble popped?” [First Read/MSNBC]
• Vaughn Ververs concludes that “Sarah Palin’s impact on the overall race has waned, if not turned slightly negative for McCain.” [Horserace/CBS News]
• Chris Cillizza notes that Palin had previously exhibited the qualities of a Teflon politician, someone whom negative stories rarely stick to. She managed “to remain popular with voters even while being pilloried in the press over a series of missteps large and small.” Now, however, the NYT/CBS News Poll”suggests that some of the shine around Palin is wearing off.” Her image is certain to continue to change, “for good or bad,” over the next few weeks as she increasingly opens up to the press and audiences. [Fix/WP]
For a complete and regularly updated guide to presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.