Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Despite torrent of criticism from all sides and the media, Palin remains hottest brand name in politics.
Some refused to talk about her at all. Others, mostly her critics, would do so only off the record. But taken as a whole, the body of interviews revealed that despite Palin’s high negative ratings in recent national polls, Republicans at the grass-roots level and their leaders still hold a very favorable impression of the former Alaska governor.
Westerners have a particular affinity for Palin, with many noting that she embodied the values of freedom and self-reliance.
Scott Sales, the minority leader of the Montana House, referred to her “curb appeal” among the party’s rank and file.
In Colorado, a state where Palin campaigned hard last year on behalf of the Republican ticket but which Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) eventually lost to Barack Obama, Arapahoe County Republican Party Chairman David Kerber said that Palin was a good fit with Western sensibilities.
“She comes across as someone who’s going to say what she says and if you don’t like it, that’s just too bad,” Kerber said. “She’s not going to lie, she’s not going to sugarcoat it — she’s just going to let it rip. I think that’s what Westerners want.”
“People saw her as one of them — someone who could relate to an everyday person. She’s not one of the political class,” said Heidi Gansert, the Nevada House minority leader. “I also believe that women appreciated her message and what she’d accomplished in her political career and family life. A woman who has a young family, who is able to become the governor of Alaska — a lot of people, women who worked the everyday jobs with their families — they know that she’s experiencing the same things they are.”
Evangelical Christians and rural and small-town Republicans also hold Palin in high esteem.
“The ones who are most supportive of her are what I would term the very conservative, libertarian-leaning voters of southern Nevada — of which there is a very large contingent,” said Bernie Zadrowski, the chairman of Las Vegas’s Clark County Republican Party. “You might also classify them as the constitutional wing of the party.”
Charles M. Webster, the state GOP chairman in Maine, said Republicans there are very enthusiastic about Palin largely because they can see themselves in her.
“I see her as being somebody who the average, what I call ‘working class guy,’ relates to,” Webster said. “Somebody who’s plain-spoken, somebody who hunts and fishes. And this is Maine — we’re in the country up here.”
In Florida, Pasco County Republican Party Chairman Randy Maggard agreed that Palin’s down-to-earth style also connected with many Gulf Coast Republicans.
“The people I talk to that like her say she relates to them because they don’t really look at her as a politician in Washington,” Maggard said. “They look at her as a mom who was in business who happened to get into politics. They feel like they can relate to her.” (full story here)