It has become increasingly easy for Democrats and some Republicans to blame the loss of John McCain in the 2008 election on his running mate, Sarah Palin. Since the election I cannot count the times that I have overheard people discussing the election and placing all the blame on Sarah Palin. Immediately following the election, most of the major news networks were also quick to blame Palin, to the point that she became very frustrated and appeared almost unstable in her post election interviews. I reject the notion that Governor Sarah Palin is the number one reason that Senator John McCain lost the 2008 Election.
After the election, I spent over 6 hours analyzing exit poll data from the election. Exit polls are taken by random voters immediately after they cast their vote. The data is compiled from polling locations nationwide and in this election cycle, 17,836 voters were polled, making the data extremely precise and reliable. The data strongly suggests that Palin was not the reason McCain lost. One question asked, "Who is Qualified To Be President if Necessary?" 91% of respondents who voted for Obama answered "Only Biden," while 96% of those who voted for McCain answered "Only Palin." More Republicans thought Palin would be qualified to be president then Democrats thought Biden would be qualified. Another question asked, "Is Biden Qualified to be President if Necessary?" Only 71% of those who voted for Obama answered "yes" while 91% of those who voted for McCain answered "yes" to the question, "Is Palin Qualified to be President if Necessary?" This indicates that those who voted for McCain, mostly Republicans, had more confidence in Palin than those who voted for Obama, mostly Democrats, had confidence in Biden. This is only a fraction of data that indicates that Palin did not have a negative effect on McCain's bid for the presidency. I know from a personal perspective that Palin energized the GOP and Republicans who were not excited about McCain became excited when Palin was chosen as the running mate. I strongly believe that Palin was a positive factor of McCain's ticket. The exit poll data can be found at: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/#val=USP00p2