As the sole female blogger on Collideoscope I'm regretful that I've taken so long in sharing my opinions on Sarah Palin as the VP candidate for the McCain presidential campaign. I will admit that I think it was a brilliant political move and one that certainly energized my interest what had become an uninteresting political slugfest. It seems that I'm not alone.
While polls have not yet been conducted on the "Palin Effect" on younger evangelical voters it seems that many of them have started paying more attention to McCain and his platform as a result of the addition of Palin to the ticket. And the under-30 evangelical vote could prove to be a vital one.
A Pew survey last fall showed under-30 white evangelicals are increasingly up for grabs politically: 40 percent identified as Republican, down 15 percent from 2005. Most who abandoned the GOP were becoming independents, not Democrats.
On the whole, evangelicals under 30 say Palin enthuses them because she's a fresh face with a compelling family story, a reputation as a reformer and a champion of conservative moral values.
The thing I found most interesting while watching Palin's RNC speech was just how much I felt she resonated with middle America. Her feelings on the military, abortion, family, etc. seemed in lock-step with the views of the people I grew up with, both as a part of my church and as a part of extended social groups. As a young female evangelical she appeals to me largely because she is proof that we don't have to be limited in what we strive for by our beliefs or our sex.
"For a lot of young evangelical women, it's exciting," said Colorado-based author Margaret Feinberg, an up-and-coming evangelical voice. "It speaks to young evangelical women who face a glass ceiling in our workplaces, but also the stained-glass ceiling of the church."
The challenge will be in motivating these newly energized voters to stay engaged and to turn out in November. McCain/Palin also need to find a way to reach those young evangelicals who are more center or left-of-center who are rather unimpressed and who view her appointment as a purely political move and who have serious concerns about the possibility of Palin becoming President should McCain have unexpected health issues. Personally, I think Palin will prove that she is up to the challenge.