After what has already proven to be a ground breaking election, the 2008 Presidential race has taken yet another turn. For the first time since the race has began, Republican Presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, is actually ahead of Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama, by one point in the latest poll produced by CNN. The practical deadlock of 47 to 46 percent with only 7 percent undecided comes at a time when the vice presidential candidates are playing a key role in deciding the outcome of this election, which has a mere one and a half months remaining. The announcement of Sarah Palin, McCain’s running mate and the first ever republican woman vice presidential candidate is playing a vital role in McCain’s current success in the polls.
“Generally, vice presidents do not have a major barring on the outcome of an election. Some have hurt campaigns over the years, some have helped. [In this case] Governor Palin has really provided a boost for the Republican campaign,” West Chester University political science professor, Dr. John Kennedy stated.
“No matter what people say, ultimately, vice presidents are put on the ticket to help win the election. They worry about governing later. Every vice presidential pick is a political pick. It is to build some vacuum the candidate may have to help appeal to some group.”
According to West Chester University senior Jeff Simon, Palin has done just that with her appeal to conservatives.
“Conservatives that were unsure about him have finally come out and said that instead of being undecided I am definitely for McCain because Sarah Palin is running with him,” Simon said. “Sarah Palin is not taking votes from Barack Obama, she is just taking votes from the base that weren’t going to vote for McCain.”
Palin’s gender is partially to blame for her appeal with voters.
West Chester University Freshman Allison Vila commented, “I think that [McCain] chose her to gain Hillary supporters, if elected there is still some hope that a woman president could happen.” West Chester University freshman Jessica Ekberg added that the possibility of a woman becoming Vice President, “Shows a lot of progress that woman have made throughout the years.”
However not all women are warming up to her.
Sandra Young, a West Chester Starbucks barista, said “I think that she is a hypocrite,” regarding her negative comments made toward Obama’s resumé and the amount of experience that she possesses.
Simon stated, “Even Republicans will admit that she was absolutley not the most qualified person that they could have chosen… I think that it is extremely dangerous to have this self proclaimed hockey mom who has been governor of a state that has a population of about six times less than Chicago, be a 72 year old heart beat away from the presidency.”
Palin has generated an enormous amount of publicity over recent weeks.
When asked about the amount of coverage the media has given Palin’s opponent, Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden, West Chester University freshman Stephan Kazar stated “Zero. Nothing.” Simon added, “I think the same reason Joe Biden is getting less coverage than Sarah Palin is the same reason McCain originally received less coverage than Barack Obama, McCain had been around for thirty years…and people knew what he was all about and now with Sarah Palin and Joe Biden it is basically reversed.”
Karen Blyton is a West Chester University student. She can be reached at KB666213@wcupa.edu