But personal attacks by someone who swing voters think a) lost her debate and b) isn't qualified to be vice-president (and by extension isn't really qualified to be making vicious attacks) probably aren't going to be the thing that does it.
Now, Republicans like it because they love it when someone takes it to those damn liberals. That anger at liberals has become displaced and free-floating--it used to be that they hated liberals because of civil rights and crime and social welfare, etc. But a lot of that has totally lost its salience, and the hatred still remains. I don't confess to understanding it, but there are simply a lot of people in this country who think that liberals, as a group and in literal terms, just hate America, the troops, American culture, and all the rest. It's bigotry, of course, and there is no corresponding sentiment on the left. Many liberals really dislike Republicans, but it's almost always based on actual characteristics of the right: their devotion to the rich over the poor and middle class, their indifference to the environment and global warming, their peremptory style of campaigning and governing. When the left attacks the right, it is invariably of the variety that the right doesn't get it or doesn't care--in other words, we allege insular thinking and callousness--and perhaps corruption as well. We do not, though, generally believe that the right is trying to secretly establish a fascist state or something like that.
This is what you see these days with Palin on the stump. People who hate the left for no particular reason anymore are frustrated and are ready to explode once McCain or Palin starts up on the patriotism question. But Palin's crowds are getting smaller. I have to believe that more and more people are realizing that McCain-Palin is a disgusting ticket running brazenly on cynical attacks and identity politics, and here's hoping that reasonable Republicans and independents realize what the GOP has become and jump ship.