One of the political parlor games during this midterm campaign is assessing how much President Obama and Sarah Palin potentially help or hurt candidates if they endorse or hit the hustings for them.
The answer for the electorate at large: a plurality says it makes no difference either way if Obama or Palin stumps for a candidate, but Palin's support poses a significantly bigger negative than Obama's.
Republican primary campaigns likely have a different dynamic when it comes to Palin but, for Americans overall, 43 percent said it makes no difference either way if Obama campaigns for a candidate and 42 percent say the same in the case of Palin, according to a Pew Research Center/National Journal poll
conducted July 29-Aug. 1.
Twenty-eight percent are less likely to vote for a candidate for whom Obama campaigns, and 27 percent are more likely to vote for that candidate.
For Palin, 38 percent say her support would make it less likely that they'd back a candidate. Only 18 percent say it would make it more likely, nine points less than those who would be more likely to back a candidate who has Obama's public embrace.
Forty-five percent of Democrats say they'd be more likely to support a candidate for whom Obama campaigned while 41 percent of Republicans say the same about a Palin-backed candidate. Forty-two percent of both Republicans and Democrats said it would make no difference.
Thirty-six percent of independents would be less likely to vote for a candidate supported by Palin compared to 28 percent who would be less likely to support an Obama candidate.
When it comes to the Tea Party, 41 percent say that it makes no difference to them if the candidate is a supporter of the movement, while 31 percent said they would be less likely to vote for that candidate and 22 percent said it would be more likely.
The New York Times has recently run pieces on both Obama and Palin and the extent of their involvement in the midterms.
"Advisers are trying to determine the balance between using Mr. Obama to inspire voters and keeping him from becoming a defining negative presence," the Times said
. "Already, Mr. Obama is popping up more as a target in Republican campaign advertisements than as a positive presence in Democratic ones."
As for Palin, the Times tried to parse
how much of her activity is aimed at putting her stamp on the midterms and how much was to keep her visible and "create a political strategy for the future."
For those interested in tracking the results of Palin's endorsements, the Washington Post has created a "Palin tracker
" that follows the results.
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