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

Gergen: Will Sarah Palin appeal in suburban America?


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. Vanni

    We keep hearing that McCain served his country blablabla but why doesn't any reporter asked what kind of education the man has?!?
    And than again what kind of qualification does Palin has more than Obama or Biden?!? How will she talk to world leaders other than in Alaska? What a joke!


    September 4, 2008 04:07 am at 4:07 am |
  2. Vanni

    How can someone with a clear mind will be voting for McCain/Palin?!?
    I mean America is no longer the world leader. That country is more in debt than ever, but still people support the next bush administration.
    But than again it is world wide known that the majority of the american people are stubborn and very very stupid!!!!

    We keep hearing that McCain served his country blablabla but why doesn't any reporter asked what kind of education the man has?!?
    And than again what kind of qualification does Palin has more than Obama or Biden?!? How will she talk to world leaders other than in Alaska


    September 4, 2008 04:07 am at 4:07 am |
  3. Moon Maiden from Lake Michigan


    September 4, 2008 04:09 am at 4:09 am |
  4. RNCEvilShows

    She did not impress me at all. How could she ? She insulted any and every community activist who has ever shed blood, sweat and tears for any cause. I'm appauled. Not real work ? Tell that to the civil rights workers, women's rights workers and see what the think. She needs to go back to wolf hunting in Alaska. I hope the gloves come off for the Dems.

    September 4, 2008 04:09 am at 4:09 am |
  5. Suburban Undecided

    I am one of those suburban voters you are all speaking about and I hadn't made up my mind about this election until just this moment. Quite frankly, I found both presidential candidates unable to capture my support over the past year. Obama has absolutely no credentials for the job and McCain seemed like a bit of a loose canon. However, Governor Palin has won this independent voter over and then some. At last, a smart, articulate and hard charging woman has come along – one who has found how to strike a balance between career and family. She appeared to be the genuine article with a take no prisoners approach to cleaning up Washington and the anti-corruption record to back it up. Obama says the country is broken and he can fix it but he never gives any real information on how. The usual democratic approach of throwing money at our problems hasn't worked in the last 60 years so why would it work now. I don't think the country is broken - Washington is broken. Unfortunately, Obama's extreme liberalism would only further divide the country and would cause the congress and senate to be hopelessly gridlocked again. At Least McCain and Palin have a good chance at being able to compromise and work across the isle to get Washington out of its perpetual state of political impotency. The fact is that most hard line Republicans are going to vote for McCain and democrats are going to vote Obama. It’s the 10 to 15 percent of us who don’t vote party but vote for the best person that is going to decide this election. Palin is showing well with us and we are the ones who will end up deciding this election.

    September 4, 2008 04:10 am at 4:10 am |
  6. John

    I find it interesting that so-called "Christians" with their values and morals denigrate a man for being a community organizer. The job involves helping the poor and downtrodden. You know, what Christians are actually supposed to be doing instead of hating gays and counting their millions.

    It made my stomach turn. Barack Obama has been nothing but a gentleman throughout the campaign and seems to have lived a life of relative virtue, deciding to do the right thing instead of the easy, lucrative thing. Heck, if I graduated Harvard Law I can't honestly say I'd have the fortitude to turn down a Wall Street job.

    I think someone needs to ask these people how they define their faith. I can't imagine that Jesus would appreciate their divisive, holier-than-thou, violent ways. That seems to be the case with Palin, who wants to tell everyone else how to run their lives but apparently can't control her own children.

    September 4, 2008 04:10 am at 4:10 am |
  7. Moon Maiden from Lake Michigan


    September 4, 2008 04:11 am at 4:11 am |
  8. Foreign observer

    The dumb american pitbull style which appeals to many rural people is hated all over the world. It works to win elections in uneducated areas but world leadership based on american pitbull philosophy will never work.

    September 4, 2008 04:11 am at 4:11 am |
  9. Mark

    Who would you rather have to a dinner party: Sarah Palin or Michelle Obama? I think there is your surburban answer and I don't think it's Palin. I don't think most people would have a problem having either the Bidens or the Obamas into their home, if only because they would put their host at ease; they'd feel awkward with McCain but feel he was a distinguished man and feel proud but drained by the time it finished; but Palin ...

    September 4, 2008 04:12 am at 4:12 am |
  10. Janet from Wasilla

    Though small town and suburbia are not exactly alike, i believe that she will hit it both ways. Small town woman with pit bull like attitudes can make it work, you don't find that mixture often in politicians.
    I believe she's ready, and makes a good candidate for John. I have seen her work up here personally, you would be amazed.

    September 4, 2008 04:12 am at 4:12 am |
  11. Lynne

    WOW! What a plastic pit bull. The teleprompter had words for her to read from. She did not write that speech. It was written to say what mccain wishes he could say. mccain has no backbone though. if he did he would have picked lieberman or ridge, but he doesn't have say over his own campaign. the scary right wing evangelicals have all of the say. Maverick? I think not. These two make a great pair a senile old man and a aged beauty queen. real substance.

    September 4, 2008 04:13 am at 4:13 am |
  12. Mary

    You liberals, running scared! America is falling in love with Palin, and it is driving you nuts!

    September 4, 2008 04:20 am at 4:20 am |
  13. Ann

    I am a suburban woman and I find her o be an uneducated repulsive woman

    September 4, 2008 04:21 am at 4:21 am |
  14. Frank Biosah

    Sarah Palin looks to me like she could have been something, she could have been somebody but she just made the biggest mistake of her political career – yielding to the negative politics of the past.

    September 4, 2008 04:22 am at 4:22 am |
  15. Rickumus

    Arrogant, pompous and immature. That is what comes to mind after watching her speech. She is clearly not ready to lead. Does she even have a plan? I think she just found out what the Vp does yesterday.

    September 4, 2008 04:24 am at 4:24 am |
  16. lewis

    She will not win votes.

    September 4, 2008 04:26 am at 4:26 am |
  17. Rosemary Wall

    . There was not the slightest bit of bi-partisanship in Palin's speech, which clearly followed the hateful RNC/Rovian playbook. The fact remains that this country is a mess ... I didn't hear one suggestion last night to indicate that Palin has answers to the most daunting issues facing all of us.

    September 4, 2008 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  18. Moureen

    I’m a former Hillary supporter; I think Sarah Palin is a refreshing change from the facade most politicians use to mask their agendas. She laid herself on the line tonight and allowed the audience and viewers to judge for themselves if she was worthy of their votes. I admire her tenacity and strength of character as evidenced by her handling of personal life crises and being thrust into a presidential campaign. She exhibited the ability to handle the job. I look forward to watching Palin and Biden debate.

    Oh, and Mr. Gergen, I live in an upscale gated community in the county. I usually vote Democratic, but I’ve been known to, horrors, vote Republican if they were the better candidate. I wish political journalists would step outside their own perimeters and stop trying to fit everyone into preconceived slots.

    September 4, 2008 04:57 am at 4:57 am |
  19. AC

    What the heck are you talking about, Gergen? She will connect with people in the suburbs (and perhaps even in the cities). She appears to be a compelling figure, confident and secure in her skin.

    September 4, 2008 05:17 am at 5:17 am |
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