Palin Hurts McCain, at Least With Newspaper Editorialists
Friday, October 17, 2008 at 5:37 pm
Newspaper presidential-endorsement season is well underway. The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Chicago Tribune announced their preferred candidate in the past 24 hours. All four endorsed Sen. Barack Obama.
Big deal, you may say. It’s no surprise that the liberal media would support its favorite son. However, as the Tribune notes in its editorial, this marks the first time in the newspaper’s history that it has endorsed a Democrat for the nation’s highest office. The Los Angeles Times has not endorsed a candidate in the presidential race since 1972, and it has never supported a Democrat before either.
The four newspapers all pointed to Sen. John McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, as a key reason for endorsing Obama. McCain has largely ignored or brushed aside questions about Palin’s lack of experience — and by extension, his judgment. The Los Angeles Times was the most scathing:
Indeed, the presidential campaign has rendered McCain nearly unrecognizable. His selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate was, as a short-term political tactic, brilliant. It was also irresponsible, as Palin is the most unqualified vice presidential nominee of a major party in living memory. The decision calls into question just what kind of thinking — if that’s the appropriate word — would drive the White House in a McCain presidency. Fortunately, the public has shown more discernment, and the early enthusiasm for Palin has given way to national ridicule of her candidacy and McCain’s judgment.
Of course, it is highly debatable how much influence a newspaper’s presidential endorsement has on its readers, just as a local politician’s support may not hold much sway over constituents. But endorsement trends could be a good indicator of the national mood. According to Editor and Publisher, Obama has picked up 51 newspaper endorsements, to 16 for McCain — a margin of more than three to one.
In contrast, John Kerry barely edged George W. Bush in endorsements in 2004, by about 220 to 205.
Although the majority of newspapers didn’t pick the winning candidate in 2004, the McCain campaign is undoubtedly hoping that the size of this year’s majority isn’t a sign of things to come.
You can find a full list of current newspaper endorsements here.
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