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'Palin pick turned off young voters'

The choice by Republican presidential candidate John McCain of 44-year-old Sarah Palin as his running mate failed to woo young voters and even turned some of them off McCain.

world Updated: Oct 23, 2008 10:49 IST

The choice by Republican presidential candidate John McCain of 44-year-old Sarah Palin as his running mate failed to woo young voters and even turned some of them off McCain, a Harvard University pollster said.

"During the vice presidential selection process, I took a lot of phone calls from reporters, pundits and campaign people who thought the Palin pick was going to re-energise the youth vote and get young people to take a second look at McCain," John Della Volpe, director of polling at Harvard's Institute of Politics, told reporters on Wednesday.

"We now have data that indicate that the choice of Palin didn't help and probably hurt the Republican ticket," he said, as he presented the findings of a poll on young voters' attitudes.

Out of more than 2,400 people between the ages of 18 and 24 who were surveyed over the course of four weeks in September and this month, 40 per cent said the Palin pick made them less likely to support the Republican ticket, the poll showed.

Twenty-five per cent of respondents said they were more likely to vote for 72-year-old McCain because of his choice of running mate and 35 per cent said the pick made no difference.

"Twenty-five percent more likely, 40 less likely -- that's a net negative-15," Della Volpe said.

The Palin pick had a similar, minus-15 per cent turn-off effect on young women voters, the poll showed.

On the other hand, the choice of Senator Joe Biden, 65, as running mate for Barack Obama, 47, on the Democratic Party ticket had a slightly positive net effect among young voters.

One in five young people -- 21 per cent -- said the Biden pick made them more likely to vote for Obama, and 19 per cent said it made them less likely to vote for him, giving a net effect of two points positive, the poll showed.