Newly elected U.S. President, the Democratic candidate Barack Obama was in a pickle this September as the opposing Republican candidate John McCain surprised the whole world by choosing Alaskas governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. Appealing especially to the Christian conservative demographic the dazzling Palin, only 44 years old, got the whole American media fired up, and for a while McCain took a lead in the polls – for the first time in months.
The media circus around Palin ended swiftly, however, when Wall Street started crashing mid-September. The plunging stocks and fears of a global recession turned the attention back into the economy, already the buzz-word for these elections.
The problem for McCain was that his field of expertise was foreign policy, not the economy. Perhaps his biggest blunder was claiming that the economy was safe and sound less than a day after Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch had disappeared from the map of Manhattan. McCain then tried to redeem himself by meddling with congressional legislation concerning the bailout. However, interrupting his campaign and rushing into Washington was perceived more as a theatrical gesture, rather than signs of real leadership. The three debates that were held after this were all centered around the economy, and each time American viewers picked Obama as the winner. Polls started reflecting a devastating trend for McCain. The people trusted Obama on the economy.
During the last days of campaigning McCain attempted to paint a picture of a socialist Obama, who would economically strangle the American people with new taxes. Joe the Plumber became a leading theme in the campaign and McCain was portrayed as the patron saint of the middle-class; a working-mans president. Meanwhile the nations faith in Palin started to waver. She was deemed too inexperienced for national politics, and seen as almost completely at loss with matters of foreign policy.
Based on door-to-door polling this Tuesday, 62 percent of Americans thought the economy was the most important issue at hand in these elections, while 9 percent told it was health-care.
A few years ago McCain badgered George W. Bush to change his strategy in Iraq, but this was long since forgotten by the people. Only 10 percent thought of Iraq as the key issue in these elections and only 9 percent mentioned terrorism.