The misconceptions about Governor Palin are too numerous to mention, but one of the biggest myths that has persisted over the past five years is that John McCain made a mistake in choosing Sarah Palin to be his running mate and that decision caused major damage to his campaign. This narrative has become conventional wisdom among the political class on both sides of the aisle, and a few articles published by academics have perpetuated this story. However a recent study by Bradley University political science professors Edward M Burmilla and Josh M Ryan dispells this myth. The website Accuracy in Media has a brief summary of their findings. An excerpt:
“We find that using marginal effects, as is appropriate for cross-sectional data, shows that Palin had a positive effect on McCain vote choice, and based on our model specification, may have had a positive, conditional relationship for independent voters,” Edward M. Burmilla and Josh M. Ryan wrote in an article which appeared in the Political Research Quarterly.
They go on to conclude that, “when confidence intervals are included, Palin’s effect was not necessarily the largest among the nominees [for vice-president] since 1972.”
Even Palin’s detractors will concede that she energized the conservative base in the 2008 election, but this study also shows she had a positive impact on the independent and moderate vote. Even though the 2008 election is long over, it is important to not allow intellectually dishonest people with an agenda to rewrite history. Hopefully this study will play a part in refuting this persistent myth. You can read the full study by these two professors here.