Saturday, August 30, 2008
Dan Jones Poll Indicates Utahns Think Sarah Palin Will Help The Ticket, But Mitt Romney Would Still Have Been A Better Choice
Utah's premier pollster decided to find out how Utahns felt about John McCain's vice-presidential selection, and so he took to the hustings to take their political temperature. Reported in full on KSL Channel 5.
The first question was whether or not Sarah Palin (pictured at left) would help the ticket. The response; by a three-to-one margin, those expressing an opinion believe Palin would help (3 out of 10 said no change or did not know):
- Help the ticket: 51 percent
- Hurt the ticket: 17 percent
- No change: 16 percent
- Don't know: 16 percent
Next, Dan Jones asked if Sarah Palin was a better choice than Mitt Romney. Nearly twice as many Utahns said No rather than Yes. This should be no surprise; this is the same Mitt Romney who got 90 percent of the vote during the February 5th Utah GOP primary.
- Yes: 30 percent
- No: 53 percent
- Don't know: 16 percent
Dan Jones also wanted to know about the impact of the Democratic Convention in Utah. Did the convention change the way Utahns feel about Barack Obama. Not very likely, said the respondents:
- More Favorable: 17 percent
- Less Favorable: 6 percent
- No Difference: 72 percent
- Don't Know: 4 percent
And finally, the bonus question. If the election were held today, who would people vote for. No surprise here, John McCain.
- John McCain: 58 percent
- Barack Obama: 23 percent
- Other: 8 percent
- Don't Know: 11 percent
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah Democratic officials are happy that Romney wasn't picked. Democrats feared that a ticket with Romney's name could energize otherwise unenthusiastic Republicans and spoil their chances at winning tightly contested local races - a position shared by the GOP. And some Democrats are even trying to turn the "Mitt factor" to their own advantage, calling the Palin pick a "slap in the face" to Romney and his supporters. They even want to play the "Mormon" card - to play up the fact that Romney may have lost the Republican nomination because of anti-Mormon bigotry, and use it to gain entree with Mormon Republican voters. They don't expect to deliver the state for Obama, but they believe they might be able to swing a few seats in the Legislature their way.
But still, the Salt Lake Tribune reported than many Republican hearts were "sunk" when Mitt Romney was left on the sidelines. Explanations for why he was overlooked vary, but few think Romney's political life is over.
Romney's business acumen, proven record with Republicans and presidential look kept him on McCain's short list, but his personal wealth may have been his undoing, observers said. The coup de grace may have been delivered earlier in August when John McCain told a reporter he owns seven homes. Since Mitt Romney, whose worth is estimated at more than $200 million, owns four homes of his own, the specter of two multi-millionaires on the ticket together could have led McCain to eliminate Romney from consideration to avoid giving Democrats class warfare grist for their propaganda mills.
But still, lingering reluctance by Evangelical Christians to embrace a Mormon candidate may have been a factor. By floating Romney, a Mormon, as a potential vice presidential nominee, the McCain campaign played chicken with evangelicals and they didn't blink. So McCain blinked instead. Ultimately, McCain chose the candidate he believes will help his ticket most. With Sarah Palin, he hopes to lure disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters.
But local experts believe that if Obama wins this year, Romney may be in the catbird seat for the Republican nomination in 2012.