In re: Sarah Palin. I've always been mystified by claims that she hurt McCain in 2008 because I've never seen any data to support such arguments. On the other hand, I've seen some data which suggests the opposite: That, unlike most running mates, she helped him quite a bit.
Well, here's another data point I've run across: In Massachusetts, 63 percent of voters said that Palin was a factor in their vote--and Obama was +5 among this cohort (52 percent to 47 percent). So Palin hurt McCain, right?
Not so fast: 32 percent of voters said Palin was not a factor, and Obama was +40 among this cohort (68 percent to 28 percent). Which suggests that Palin was actually an enormous net positive for McCain.
I'm not sure whether or not there's exit data on this, but I'd be interested in seeing how other VP candidates impacted their ticket in recent elections to get a sense of Palin's influence is normal or abnormal. My guess would be the latter, but who knows.
2 hours ago