CNN Poll: McCain 48%, Obama 48%
CBS News Poll: McCain 46%, Obama 44%
Post/ABC News Poll: Obama 47%, McCain 46%
Gallup Tracking Poll: McCaon 49%, Obama 44%
The reason for the shift?
The press says it's McCain's VP choice, Sarah Palin. Not only has she energized the evangelical base of the Republican Party, Gallup says independent voters are now swinging to the McCain/Palin ticket in part because of the addition of the Alaska governor while the Washington Post reports that Palin is helping attract the support of white women to McCain.
I wrote here last week that Palin was a bad choice to be VP because independents and swing voters were turned off by the extreme partisan tone of her convention speech and far-right views on abortion, contraception, and the environment.
But that was before the GOP noise machine swung into motion and created tons of 30 second ads touting Ms. Palin as an emblem of fiscal prudence, good government or, as Josh Marshall put it at TPM, "the mavericky, pork-busting reformer from Alaska."
But the reality, as has been shown in numerous news story over the past week, is that she is far from a pork-buster, a maverick or a reformer.
This morning, for example, the Washington Post reports that Palin
has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a "per diem" allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.
The governor also has charged the state for travel expenses to take her children on official out-of-town missions. And her husband, Todd, has billed the state for expenses and a daily allowance for trips he makes on official business for his wife.
Gee, that's not so mavericky or reform-minded. Hell, even Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-San Quentin) didn't think to try that kind of fiscal "sleight of hand" while he was sitting on his gold-plated toilet seat.
In addition, the New Republic reports that the McCain campaign's assertion that Ms. Palin fought against the "Bridge To Nowhere is a "naked lie" while Josh Marshall points out that even as the McCain campaign advertises Palin as some kind of earmark-slayer:
when she was mayor and governor, in both offices, she requested and got more earmarks than virtually any city or state in the country.
Gee, those things aren't mavericky or reform-minded either.
On the economic front, while the McCain campaign has touted Ms. Palin as a fiscally prudent, good government advocate, when she took over the mayoral office in Wasilla the city had no debt, but when she left the city had $19 million dollars worth. Much of the debt increase resulted from Palin's decision to have the city build an indoor sports complex that went way over budget and remains unfinished and in litigation. As Andrew Sullivan noted on his blog:
She is a Bush-Cheney fiscal conservative: low taxes, unprecedented new spending, utter incompetence, endemic cronyism and massive debt.
So how is it that the McCain campaign and the GOP has managed to sway voters into thinking Palin is a paragon of fiscal responsibility and reform policies?
Simple - lies, lies, lies, repeated over and over until people figure "Hell, those things they're saying about Sarah Palin must be true because they keep saying 'em."
This is a lesson that the guys running the McCain campaign learned from when they ran the Bush/Cheney campaigns or for that matter sold the Iraq war to the American people.
If you repeat something enough, it becomes "truth" no matter how bald-faced or a naked a lie it is.
Judging by the poll numbers, so far, it's working.