New York Personal Injury Law Blog » Politics, Trial Practice


October 31st, 2008

P.T. Barnum Was Wrong On Sarah Palin

The Sarah Palin debacle contains a lesson for trial lawyers. It’s a lesson on playing a trial straight, without shtick. And a lesson that runs contrary to what legendary showman P.T. Barnum was alleged to have said:

Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.

Today a New York Times / CBS pol shows that the public doesn’t believe Sarah Palin is ready for the job. According to this NYT story (Growing Doubts on Palin Take a Toll, Poll Finds):

All told, 59 percent of voters surveyed said Ms. Palin was not prepared for the job, up nine percentage points since the beginning of the month. Nearly a third of voters polled said the vice-presidential selection would be a major factor influencing their vote for president, and those voters broadly favor Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee.

And according to this CBS story:

A third of voters saying the vice presidential nominees will factor in their vote, and here the Democrats have the edge: While 74 percent say Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden is prepared to be vice president, just 35 percent say GOP counterpart Sarah Palin is prepared for the job.

The lesson to draw from this mess? Argue the evidence. Jurors will feel insulted if you do otherwise. (Of course, this doesn’t necessarily explain how and why voters did what they did in other elections.)

The quote, by the way, most likely wasn’t Barnum’s, but belonged to H. L. Mencken. If you decide you want to believe what you read on the Internet.

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