They were and are the core base of his appeal. As a "maverick" Republican, his fundamental gamble was that he could appeal to enough of them and win over enough Clinton Democrats to beat the odds this year. And yet, no group has responded more negatively to McCain these past seven weeks than independents. McCain's unfavorables among independents have soared from 24 percent to 44 percent in seven weeks. Palin has also turned them off, after a promising start. Her unfavorables among independents have jumped 14 points since she started campaigning.

Among Republicans, her favorables are down 8 and unfavorables up 10.

In the same period, Obama has seen his favorables soar among independents, while his unfavorables have only nudged upward under the negative ad onslaught. Joe Biden has had the best month on the personal appeal front, with large gains in favorables and an actual decline in unfavorables among Republicans.

Money quote from the piece:


“Even though I am a Democrat, there was a strong possibility I would have voted for McCain,” said Yolanda Grande, 77, a Democrat from Blairstown, N.J. “What pushed me over the line was McCain’s choice of vice president. I just don’t think she is qualified to step in if anything happened to him.”

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