September 4th, 2008
12:22 AM ET
14 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. Thomas

    Drill Drill Drill ,
    Ice caps melting, more tropical storms on the way.
    You would think she would have more awareness of the severity of climate change and global warming !
    If a person has so little understanding of there surrounding environment, how can one understand foreign policy?
    Yet of all the speakers at the RNC , she has a lotta heart!
    But thats not enough for my vote. I can't afford four more years of denial , nor can my four year child.
    Hambone Pickins

    September 4, 2008 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  2. FAK Palin

    I have a very bad feeling that this is the beginning of the end for Obama and Biden. Palin will end up killing and pwning those two and hand the election to McCain.

    GOD HELP AMERICA! I'm about ready to barf!

    September 4, 2008 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  3. Cheryl L

    She read her lines very well but it was too not real. That was not her speaking at all and you could tell. It was an attempt to make her out to be something she is not. In the end win or lose, the politics of America was turned into a three ring circus in an attempt to add another historical nominee to a ticket to split the country and to throw the real issues off the table.

    September 4, 2008 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  4. elizabeth

    I live in suburban Southern California - Orange County, specifically. The "soccer mom" identity practically originated here, and from my perspective, I can say that the divisive issue with Palin is not gender but geography. Her being from Alaska will not convince a lot of suburbanites that her executive experience is relevant to "mainstream" suburban America. If she were governor of California - which has the sixth-largest economy in the world; is home to multiple major industries like agriculture, entertainment and technology; and represents the future demographic trends of America - then maybe I might give her executive experience more weight. As it is, I think suburban America will see a governor from a remote state; now Alaska has some mystique, but not all of it good.

    September 4, 2008 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  5. Thomas, Illinois


    September 4, 2008 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  6. danny

    everything i know suggests that this country is moving away from
    extreme right wing ideas like if you're daughter is raped make her
    have the baby. i'm sorry, in this day and age, that is a barbaric
    attitude. there is something very dysfunctional looking about that
    family that the RNC is celebrating. family values is now about
    shotgun marriages and teen aged hockey players with foul mouths?
    i think i will be for the candidates who can run under the banner

    September 4, 2008 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  7. Dancing Angel

    Where there no people of color there. Wow, did not see one brown or black person.

    September 4, 2008 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  8. lynda

    Until tonight I was still undecided. I voted republican in the last two elections and really needed to be convinced to do so again. I too wanted to hear her address the issues and was sad that she did not. I truly disliked the attacks on Obama, big strike against her. This man is conducting himself with integrity and Palin should be careful how she speaks of him. I'v listened and observed both candidates and tonight Palin did not win my vote for McCain. I will vote democrat in November.

    September 4, 2008 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  9. Sridhar

    Pray to GOD that she doesn't appeal to any one significant ... else America is doomed to another term of Bush-Chenney. I can't understand how that can be appealing to any one !!!

    September 4, 2008 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  10. Jim Hartman

    Sounds to me like all you "Bleeding Heart Liberals" are really scared.
    Fact is that Sara Palin has more executive experience collectively than the complete Democrat Ticket! Get real folks.

    September 4, 2008 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  11. 8 Is Enough

    She only alienated female voters with any modicum of intelligence tonight. Her rabid and bullying style will only backfire and turn off moderate and independent voters alike. I'm actually glad that she is so horrible offensive, so there will be less chance of women being duped that she would do ANYTHING to make progress for REAL women.

    September 4, 2008 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  12. Lola

    She is a joke! I was supporting her before her speech tonight, after her speech, I lost respect for her. I am a woman and women are supposed to unite not divide, To govern a any country as a leader you need to bring people together, it not only Rnc living in unite state, the left are American citizen too. We American abroad here in Canada are disappointed and as woman and a mother, she failed the first test. When Obama was asked to comment on her daughters rumor, he defended her. On the first night of her fist introduction to the nation and America's abroad like me, she failed, just as she failed as a mother.

    September 4, 2008 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  13. SallyS

    I doubt if Suburban America will go for her. Pit bulls make people nervous ... especially if they're not confined or leashed.

    September 4, 2008 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  14. Jeff in the Redwoods, Arcata, CA

    As a registered independent, and a 60 year-old white male, I was finally pushed off the undecided column this evening. And none other than Ms. Palin clinched the deal. I'm voting Obama/Biden in '08!

    It wasn't all Palin's doing, she was "just following orders". The same refrain that was heard over and over in the late 1930's and early l940's in Germany. No way, no how, no McCain/Palin this year, or any other year! Go Obama/Biden '08!

    September 4, 2008 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  15. Patricia Felini

    I was interested in hearing what the RNC had to say these days, but I was disappointed to see them, and her, hide behind the old hypocritical liberal bashing that they were known for. It's sad because it certainly take the shine off a historical nomination of a women to such a position. I believe women in the suburbs and cities will look through her blatantly transparent cynicism. I've made up my mind now, this girl votes for Obama..

    September 4, 2008 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  16. barbara in pa

    I know many of the pundits are giving her kudos for a 'great' speech, but she totally left me cold. I hope that people will think carefully about the fact that she is on the same side as George W on every issue. So if you want to continue down the path we have for the past 8 years, vote mccain/palin. She is Sarcastic, nasty & not very brainy,. She's not highly thought of in the suburbs where I live.

    September 4, 2008 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  17. D Maguire

    Yes, the attacks were a bit strong, but you know... the "more of the same" comment is getting old, and since the "no experience" bit will not work since Palin has more accomplishments to show for her short time in office (aside from the pep rally's that have launched someone who is completely unqualified into the Democratic nomination). What else do the Dems have to offer? Why aren't the republicans a better pick? And lastly, I had to laugh... exactly what DOES a community organizer DO?? This brings to mind the block parties that we have during the summer in Philly... our block captain is going to be soooo thrilled when I let her know she's now qualified to run for president! The dems are just hurting now because the punches were hard and on more than one issue, hit home. I think John McCain choosing a woman that tore apart the books when she walked into office and trimmed the fat rings out loud and clear on how he's going to manage the economy. Lastly, I have to salute Lieberman for being his own man and standing up for what he believes is the best for our country – even if it didn't make him the most popular democrat.
    -Another Independent Democrat

    September 4, 2008 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  18. veronica

    tobiasjosias.......You are so wrong......I'm a Clinton supporter and and swore not to vote for Obama....the Dem Convention changed my mind....And Sarah Paling confirmed I made the right choice in now supporting Obama.......She is a Puppet for the RNC who is smart enough to give a speech that someone else wrote and knows opportunity when it is handed to her....Other than that she is an opportunist moosehead-airhead puppet.

    September 4, 2008 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  19. Ali

    No, she will not appeal to anyone other than her base. For her first appearance on the National stage, she was rude and condescending. Say what you will about Obama, most Americans know his story now and even if they are unsure of him and may not even vote for him, he has earned some respect for all that he has accomplished. Palin, someone we don't know yet, to come out and disrespect Obama's service to Americans however small but still honorable (community organizer comment) like she did really set the tone and eventually my opinion of her. I guess doing good for your community and your fellow American is not as worthwhile as selling the Governor' jet on E-Bay....

    September 4, 2008 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  20. Karla

    Why will most Americans not take her?? Because you think she was rude???? C'mon!! Arrogant?? How arrogant can a governor of Alaska be? You know as much about her as you know about Obama. Obama has been on the media circuit for almost 2 years now, and he still hasn't lived up to her experience.

    Had he chosen Hillary for his VP.....there would be no race here, no experience question here...

    this would be a no win situation for the REPUBS.!!!!

    September 4, 2008 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  21. Northwest Washington

    Replace McCain with Palin! Palin, Palin, Palin, Palin, Palin, Palin, Palin!!!!!! Whoopee! Whoopee!!!

    September 4, 2008 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  22. Ich bin a NewYorker

    I thought her speech was rude, arrogant, racist,and an insult to hard working community organizers across this country.

    It was sad to see Wolf Blitzer jump with joy while implying her speech was a home run. What a joke.

    September 4, 2008 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  23. The white supremist convention

    Palin sets women back about a hundred years. All that we fought for is being lost by her. She won't win the VP and will put her foot in her mouth and turn people against her. She has run down alot of people tonight, especially those in big cities. I would like to see a full investigation on this woman about what she did in Alaska to have her brother-in-law fired. I can't see why CNN isn't doing more as an investigative media agency. They should be sending more tough people up to Alaska to find out exactly what kind of person she really is. I am a woman and would never vote for her. I am a Hillary fan. You can never compare the two.

    September 4, 2008 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  24. wpaul

    Just bringing back from memory the Red and Blue areas in the maps of the last elections I'd say that Palin does have a chance to make a mark on the "lesser developed" parts of US.

    Then again, those regions don't come across to me personally as being very "feminist" so who knows, really?


    September 4, 2008 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  25. Ryan Young

    Since Palin was chosen, I've made it a point to educate at least one person per day on her extreme policy positions. Each time I tell someone that she wants abortion outlawed even in the case of rape or incest, wants creationism taught in schools, and believes in abstinence-only education, they shake their head in disbelief.

    When people find out what Palin stands for, her everywoman charm won't be enough to make them pull that lever, no matter how likable she is.

    September 4, 2008 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
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