I’ve been waiting for these interviews with independent voters on the television coverage, but the focus group thing apparently wasn’t chic this year.

But the Detroit Free Press did have a panel of voters listen to the speech.  Their reactions were largely more in line with what I had predicted.  Many of those listening didn’t like the tone of the speech, even if they didn’t mind Palin herself.

“Sarah Palin came across as the small town girl who made good. I knew that I disagreed with her on some issues before this evening. After listening to her speech … it appears that once she makes up her mind, that is the end of it. We live in a gray world, not every answer is black and white.”

— Diane Murphy, 42, Sterling Heights independent

“I was completely underwhelmed. She was a Republican novelty act with a sophomoric script. It was not even a speech I would expect for a someone running for the local PTA, much less for vice president.”

— George Lentz, 66, Southfield independent

“Who is Sarah Palin? I’m sorry but I still don’t know anymore about this young lady tonight than I did last night … The way it looks to me, she’s the Republican vice presidential nominee for one reason: because Hillary wasn’t selected.”

— Mike Kosh, 38, West Bloomfield independent

“Sarah Palin is a self-described ‘pitbull with lipstick.’ She spent little time helping Americans learn who she is. She is a cool, poised speaker, but her speech contained few statements about policy or the party platform. … I am not convinced that Palin’s experience as a mayor or governor in Alaska meet the qualifications to be vice president much less one stroke or heart attack away from being commander in chief.”

— Ilene Beninson, 52, Berkley independent

I thought I was missing something with most bloggers seeming to bow down in front of Palin, paying homage to her.  Sure, I think she clicks with the Republican base, but like I’ve been writing, the base isn’t as big as it used to be.

2000 and 2004 were elections in a much different environment than our current one.  People could afford to be distracted by the politics of Karl Rove.  Not anymore.  I seriously just don’t think this is going to work with many Americans.

Update: Another panel, this one made up of women and in Nevada, liked Palin’s poise, but not what she had to say.

In two different focus groups of Clinton-supporting Nevada women — married and unmarried — conducted immediately after Gov. Sarah Palin’s Wednesday night speech to the Republican National Convention, a few common reactions quickly took shape.

First, women in both groups were impressed with Palin’s speaking ability and poise. But they were hardly convinced that she was qualified to be vice president, or that she truly represented the “change” they were looking for, especially in light of what was deemed an overly harsh “sarcasm” pervading her address.

In the “married” group, when one attendee kicked off the discussion by saying “she’s a good speaker, and a crowd pleaser,” the rest of the room articulated their agreement. “I didn’t expect to be as impressed as I was,” said another respondent. But then another woman added: “Once she started mudslinging, I thought, it’s the same old crap as other politicians. McCain used her to get the women’s vote. And she’s using McCain.”

“Thank you,” another woman responded. “That really upset me; there was no need for that. It was snippy.”

The unmarried group also voiced similar objections to the harsh, partisan edge of Palin’s remarks. “I’m not impressed with her at all as a person,” one said, citing her “finger pointing” and general sarcasm after the group had generally agreed that she was a talented public speaker.

Still not all focus group members thought Palin came off too harsh. “She didn’t seem very aggressive to me at all,” said one unmarried participant.

But in both groups, narrow majorities said they held a more negative view of Palin after her speech. “She comes off pretty cutthroat,” said one.

On other issues, women in both groups said they wanted to hear more of Palin’s own policy views, outside the realm of energy. Education, heath care, the economy and Iraq were all cited as areas in which women were hungry for more information — especially in light of McCain’s age.

Advertisements