Sarah Palin is proving so popular with the Republican base, it’s hard to imagine that John McCain realized just how great an asset he was bringing on board. Right now at least — before any gaffes or problems that may develop — Palin seems to be the more popular with Republican true believers than anyone since Ronald Magnus (Reagan, to the rest of you). The campaign and the RNC will have to be creative in how they use her. Many will donate and turn out simply to make her vice president — enabling creative appeals built around her, which help McCain in the process. Down-ballot candidates might also benefit from a visit from the Governor.
One personal example of her impact: today at the local Assembly of God service, Governor Palin got a very warm mention from the Minister. While he was clear that he does not know Mrs. Palin personally, and the Church cannot make any endorsement, he noted that Governor Palin is a member of the Assembly of God church. He also mentioned that at the Church’s recent General Council meeting, all in attendance prayed for Governor Palin and for guidance on her future endeavors. It looks like the guidance was received. I presume that there were similar mentions at other Assembly of God services around the country. Consider the evangelical community activated for McCain.
I think it’s safe to say that Barack Obama can drop any ongoing efforts he may have been considering to steal a share of the regular church goers from McCain. Governor Palin’s presence on the ticket likely means that he’ll be limited to picking around the edges.