I heard an interesting discussion this morning on NPR about the boost that John McCain is getting from adding Sarah Palin to the ticket. They discussed how people rarely vote based on the bottom of the ticket, but that Sarah Palin may be an exception. I've already written about the vice-presidential choice, and how little we know about vice-presidents, so that's undoubtedly true. People were voting for Ike, not Adlai Stevenson, and for FDR, not Harry Truman. I imagine there might be a change this year, with a few people voting for Sarah Palin, not John McCain, this time around.
To be honest, I've voted the bottom of the ticket twice in my limited presidential voting career--I was more excited about having a VP from Wyoming (Dick Cheney) than I was about George W. Bush. When you're the smallest state (population-wise), it's pretty cool to have the VP hail from your state. I imagine some Alaskans will understand where I 'm coming from at this point. Thinking about this led me to an interesting observation--Republicans, in the last few elections, have chosen VP candidates from states with very few electoral votes to offer, states that typically don't figure in D.C. political power polls.
So, I'm offering a few Alaska/Wyoming parallels this morning:
Population: WY 515,004 (#50)
AK 670,053 (#47)
Size: WY 97,809 square miles (#10)
AK 591,004 square miles (#1)
Electoral Votes: WY 3
Citizens w/College Degrees: WY 22%
Registered Democrats: WY 59,000
AK 53,000 These are rough numbers, data difficult to find.
Top Google News Story: WY Fallen Wyoming serviceman honored in Iraq
AK Palin and Gibson re-enact 'High Noon' in Alaska
I could have added a lot more, but I think we begin to see a pattern--small states in population, large in size, with similar numbers across the board--and I have to admit, I think it's pretty cool that the Republicans will choose candidates from our "not nationally important" states.