Women More Reluctant About Palin

Rasmussen seems to have the first numbers out on Palin’s nomination, and Nate Silver has the rundown:

These numbers pretty much speak for themselves, but men have a favorable imperssion of Palin by a 35-point margin, whereas women have a favorable impression of her by an 18-point margin. Conversely, by a 23-point margin, women do not think Palin is ready to be President, whereas Palin lost this question among men by a considerably smaller 6-point magrin.

Why does this gap exist? Don’t know, but it may simply be a matter of ideology. Men are generally a bit more conservative than women, and opinions of Palin are very strongly determined by ideology. Conservatives have a favorable impression of her by a 79-8 margin, but this falls to 43-35 among moderates and 26-46 among liberals. Likewise, by a 48-22 margin, conservatives think she’s ready to be President, but she loses this question 23-54 among moderates and 9-67 among liberals.

Obviously the┬ánumber that jumps right out and gets yo here is the gender gap, but that seems rather secondary to me. If you don’t digest everything you learn about politics from cable, youcould have probably guessed that Palin’s pick wasn’t going to play all that well to female voters. Women, on average, tend to be more liberal/Democratic then men, as Nate and other have noted, and so a very conservative Republican who cultivates the most support and enthusiasm from the evangelical right of the party probably isn’t really going to appeal to them, irrepsective of their Y chromocome status. Also, the supposed gripe Hillary supporters had with Obama’s nomination was that she was a supremely qualified woman who was being “passed over” for a younger man. It wasn’t about gender specifically, if it was we’d have a hell of a lot more women in office than we do now, or at least more women as Democratic candidates. Women tend to make up roughly 51-53% of the voting public afterall, and nearly 60% in the average Democratic primary. Indeed, it seems that if we’re going to try to apply the “PUMA standard” to this pick, the best “analysis” would be that this pick will anger “older white women” in that it passes over much more qualified Republican women like Meg Whitman, Jodi Rell, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, and maybe a dozen others for a much les qualified, younger, former beauty queen. Not that I believe that, of course, but you see what I’m getting at in constructing a silly meme based on gender stereotypes.

But what I find more interesting in the data is what it says about voters’ impressions of Palin in general; namely that they like her, but by a pretty broad margin they don’t think she’s ready to be President. For being such an unknown, to have 54% of self-identified moderates, where the election will pretty obviously be won at the margins, agreeing that you’re not qualified is pretty staggering, especially with only 23% saying you are qualified. Those are some pretty big numbers to overcome, and she’s going to have to come out and have an all-time great performance for a VP candidate, demonstrating a rudimentary knowledge about a lot of topics without making any gaffes. That’d be a tall order even for someone like Biden, it’s probably going to be next to impossible for someone who doesn’t seem to have barely thought about national issues, outside of oil drilling, to pull off.

If the first rule of VP picking is to do no harm, I think early indicators are that McCain flunked.