Monday, September 22, 2008

Florida: Familiarity Breeds Contempt

Much has been made of what a difference Sarah Palin has made to the Republican ticket. Her selection, they say, found white folks, especially female white folks, flocking to her like lemmings to a cliff.

But now it seems that that old saw is true. Familiarity breeds contempt.

Rather than driving folks towards McCain, Sarah is driving them away. That, at least, is what an informal study done by the St. Petersburg Times discovered. That's St. Petersburg, Florida; one of the states McCain has to win to keep the Bush party in power.

Looks like the Republicans should have kept Palin under wraps just a little bit longer.

From the St. Petersburg Times:

ST. PETERSBURG — Five weeks ago, the St. Petersburg Times convened a group of Tampa Bay voters who were undecided about the presidential election. Their strong distrust of Barack Obama suggested it was a group ripe for John McCain to win over.

Not anymore. The group has swung dramatically, if unenthusiastically, toward Democrat Obama. Most of them this week cited the same reason: Sarah Palin.

"The one thing that frightens me more than anything else are the ideologues. We've seen too many," said 80-year-old Air Force veteran Donn Spegal, a lifelong Republican from St. Petersburg, who sees McCain's new running mate as the kind of "wedge issue" social conservative that has made him disenchanted with his party.

"I'm truly offended by Palin,'' said Republican Philinia Lehr, 37, of Largo, a full-time mother with a nursing degree who voted for George Bush in 2004. Like Palin, she has five children and she doesn't buy that the Alaska governor can adequately balance her family and the vice presidency.

"You're somebody's mom and what are you going to do, say, 'Excuse me, country, hold on?' … She's preaching that she's this mom of the year and taking that poor little baby all over everywhere. And, you know, what she's doing to her 17-year-old daughter is just appalling.'' Lehr said she's bothered by the way Palin's pregnant daughter has been brought into the national spotlight.

Of the 11 undecided voters participating in the discussion one recent evening at the Times — four Republicans, five Democrats, and two registered to no party — only two Republican men applauded the selection of Palin.

Nobody had finalized a choice, but seven of the panelists said that McCain's running mate selection had made them more likely to vote for Obama, and in several cases much more likely.


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