September 4th, 2008
12:22 AM ET
6 years ago

Gergen: Will Sarah Palin appeal in suburban America?

ALT TEXT

Palin wowed the RNC Wednesday, but how will she play in suburbia? (Photo credit: E.M. Pio Roda / CNN )

It is clear from tonight's national debut that Sarah Palin may connect extremely well in rural, small-town America. And no doubt, Republicans will be sending her there in key states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and the like. Her pit bull style, combined with her humor and presence along with her roots, will likely draw people to her. Lots of people there will look forward to hearing her in person.

The question for me is whether she will also appeal in suburban America. I am not at all certain that she will: her combative, anti-elitist style - along with her staunch conservatism on issues like abortion - may just leave a lot of voters cool if not cold.

The answer to that question could have a big bearing on the election. What do you think?

soundoff (1,169 Responses)
  1. Kansas City Suburban voter

    I watched Sarah Palin's speech, and I'm a suburban voter. She leaves me as ice cold as she appears to be herself. She and McCain won't get my vote–or the vote of other suburban voters I know around here and elsewhere from what they are now saying.

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  2. Harriet

    Totally agree. Her style appears to be Ready, Fire, Aim. She came out punching, so I hope she learned to box because she's in for a fight with Biden.

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  3. william

    PALIN JUST PROVED TO ME THAT SHE IS WILLING TO SAY WHATEVER THE PUBLIC WANTS TO HEAR TO GET ELECTED,BUT ONCE IN OFFICE WILL FLIP FLOP ON ALL SHE HAS PROMISED, AS SHE DID IN HER OWN STATE WHEN RUNNING TO GET ELECTED TO BE GOVERNOR.....NO SUBSTANCE ABOUT THE ISSUES IN HER SPEECH AT ALL.SAME OLD BASHING TACTICS INSTEAD OF WHAT THEY HOPE TO ACHIEVE ONCE IN OFFICE.

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  4. Aaron

    I think that Palin will connect unbelievably well in suburbia. This hockey mom, lipsticked pit bull is an amazing women. I was solidly in the Obama camp before the Palin VP nod, but now I am second guessing that decision. I was a disaffected republican (I even contributed to Barack's campaign and bought two t-shirts), depressed with McCain's platform, but Palin has reminded me why I am a republican.

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  5. Republican for Obama

    Worst convention ever... couldn't have been more disapointing.

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  6. Moi

    In a word: NO!

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  7. BUZZARD'S KORNER

    David, I agree with you 100%...And, they are playing the experience card again, but this time using Pal-who? Who again is the nominee of this party? Are you sure it is not Sarah, seeing how she has more Exec. experience than her own running mate....Please answer this question....Who is the Nominee?

    And the reason why this will not work.....LAW OF THE UNIVERSE....WHAT YOU GIVE OUT COMES BACK TO YOU....YOU SPEW NEGATIVITY.....NEGATIVITY WILL COME BACK HITTING HARD....SAME IS TRUE OF POSITIVENESS AS WELL....THAT IS WHY THEY WILL NOT WIN.....THEY CANNOT WIN....YOU SAW HOW EMPTY THAT CENTER WAS.....OBAMA PACKED THAT CTR....AND ALSO, TELL THE TRUTH RE THE REPUBS....THEY ARE REALLY HAVING ALOT MORE TROUBLE THAN MAINSTREAM MEDIA IS REPORTING. WHY IS THAT?

    BUZZARRDS KORNER

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  8. ever

    you are right! she is combative . she left me cold! scary woman for someone new there was no humility?

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  9. Frank in Pittsburgh

    The fact that she thinks creationism should be taught in public schools is reason alone to disqualify her from any office for me. After 8 long years of Bush, can we finally just have a candidate who understands the meaning of separation of church and state.

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  10. Jeanette

    Suburban undecided Democrat here, and as far as I can tell, Palin won't play well in my neighborhood, given her stated views and attitudes, and punctuated by her sarcastic, even catty, remarks tonight. Plus with her helping to reignite these dreadfully polarizing culture wars, I still can't fathom why John McCain made this VP choice. It can only indicate the level of his desperation and the belief that his candidacy is already pretty much dead in the water. Oh well, can't see myself voting for anyone, as Obama remains too inexperienced for me.

    September 4, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  11. S. Boatman

    I Dont Think She Connects With Anyone Other Than Those From The Hard Right! Thats Not Going To Be Enough To Help Mccain Win This Election! Giving A Speech That Has Been Written For You Is One Thing, Answering Questions On Where You Stand On The Issues Is Another!

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  12. Sanjeev

    I expected better from McCain than the condescending and divisive tone of the convention thus far. I am not sure that voters, rural or suburban, believe that pitbulls is what they need or deserve. I hope McCain redeems himself tomorrow.

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  13. Wendy

    YES, she will....She already has...
    Roswell, Ga.

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  14. Leah Texas

    I am a 49 year old white women and I found Palin to be cold, negative, and insulting.

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  15. Matt

    I thought this was one of the most vile, disgusting, divisive conventions I've ever seen or heard of. They might have done a little better had they embraced supporters of the opposition instead of shunned them.

    Terrible, perfect example of why a McCain administration would get nothing done. He just alienated every Democrat in power in Washington.

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  16. Joanne Marr

    I doubt if I could agree with Palin on any subject under the sun.
    As far as I am concerned she has no qualifications to be a heart-beat away from the Presidency.
    What a disaster she would be.

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  17. Nowlin

    I guess that I thought that most woman were not dogs that wear lipstick. However this palin critter is unigue. So this is as bad the protesters getting what for instead of just voting for what they want.

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  18. Deborah Chase

    Where can we complain about Campbell Brown? It is true that I am not a fan of her political commentary – but this sudden expression of female outrage on behalf of Sarah Palin is particularly stunning and basically insulting to all the women who have watched her calmly accept equally or worse insulting and sexist attacks on other women in the news without a shred of awareness or interest. Good gief!! I certainly hope women have more observant and wise defenders in the future! Come on CNN!!

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  19. Wendy in NC

    I AM in rural, small town America and lived in Alaska for 16 years, hubby was born there and is Haida. TRUST ME, she offended me greatly tonight with her venomous sarcasm, lies and attacks. No McPitbull

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  20. Tom

    I live in suburbia, and I am inundated with calls basically saying the entire spectacle tonight turned them off from voting Republican. I've never been so proud to hear my Republican friends say that.

    Thank you Sarah Palin....by solidifying your base, you expanded my base.

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  21. Alease

    She knows how to give a speech. Unfortunately it turned me completely off by its tone, mocking, and tearing down the opponent. All gravy and no meat. I'm a woman. Please tell Campbell Brown stop making woman look like whiners. If you're going to put on the uniform, you better be able to take the hits of the game. The word "shrill" Campbll. Give me a break. Donna and Paul were right

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  22. Double_Helix

    Absolutely not. The intellectual majority in this country has had enough with hillbillies in the White House. Her record speaks for itself and if the media does the right thing and brings out the facts in detail about this woman it should be enough to turn most away from supporting her. She is an uber-right wing extremist by many standards. She sells herself as a reformist and a fighter against corruption. Though she appears to only be against corruption so long as she is not at the root of it and benefiting from it.

    "Nothing could be more irrational than to give the people power and to withhold from them information, without which power is abused. A people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. – James Madison"

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  23. Christine Dunn

    I am an elite suburban woman of Mrs. Palin's generation, and I couldn't agree with you more. She only inspired me to hate, to spit, to put up my fists for a fight - but I guess we call that leadership in the Republican party.

    Shrill is the best word next to the "b" word to describe this woman. Tell your colleagues to quit coddling to women and call it what it was.

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  24. MacBee

    I think she is a HORRIBLE choice! For the first time in my life, I am actually fearful should she ever take on the office of president. She has a history of vindictiveness and her philosophy would put us back into the dark ages. What on earth is wrong with the Republicans? I think that John McCain probably just fell for a pretty younger woman (again)!

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  25. Afm

    She comes off very manly. I live in a rural area and I can see me voting for McCain/Palin ticket. I am pro-choice. It is fine for her to make a decision for her own daughter to keep her child. However, I am adult I don't want anyone to make decisions concerning my daughter or my family but my family.

    September 4, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47