Alan Greenblatt is a GOVERNING correspondent.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Michigan may well turn out to be the decisive Ohio or Florida of this cycle. A focus group of Michigan independents, Ds and Rs convened by the Detroit Free Press gave Sarah Palin mostly but not wholly negative comments.
"Sarah Palin came across as the small town girl who made good. I knew that I disagreed with her on some issues before this evening. After listening to her speech ... it appears that once she makes up her mind, that is the end of it. We live in a gray world, not every answer is black and white."
-- Diane Murphy, 42, Sterling Heights independent
Focus groups of undecided women in Nevada also reacted negatively.
In the "married" group, when one attendee kicked off the discussion by saying "she's a good speaker, and a crowd pleaser," the rest of the room articulated their agreement. "I didn't expect to be as impressed as I was," said another respondent. But then another woman added: "Once she started mudslinging, I thought, it's the same old crap as other politicians. McCain used her to get the women's vote. And she's using McCain."
"Thank you," another woman responded. "That really upset me; there was no need for that. It was snippy."
The unmarried group also voiced similar objections to the harsh, partisan edge of Palin's remarks. "I'm not impressed with her at all as a person," one said, citing her "finger pointing" and general sarcasm after the group had generally agreed that she was a talented public speaker.
Still not all focus group members thought Palin came off too harsh. "She didn't seem very aggressive to me at all," said one unmarried participant.
But in both groups, narrow majorities said they held a more negative view of Palin after her speech. "She comes off pretty cutthroat," said one.
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