UPDATE: David Wiegel at Hin & Run provides with an interesting historical backdrop for these numbers. In short, Carter provides a precedent for an in-a-month meltdown, but circumstances were vastly different in 1980.
UPDATE II: So now the McCain camps strategy when it comes to Palin is to send her out to connect with voters via right-wing radio:
"We're going to be continue to put her in settings where she has an opportunity to shine, to be on offense," the adviser said. "We've gotten very good feedback from the public from Hugh Hewitt interview."
The adviser suggested that the campaign's efforts at damage control following Palin's interview with Katie Couric may have been hampered by the fact that the governor wasn't doing more friendly interviews to counter her flubs on Russia and the congressional bailout bill, which have reverberated throughout the blogosphere and even turned Palin into a punchline on Saturday Night Live.
"We acknowledge that perhaps she should have been out there doing more," said the adviser, who argued that "it's not fair to judge her off one or two sound bites" from the network interviews.
So if we are to believe this, she's going to connect with voters by going into settings where the only people who are likely to hear her are the ones who already adore her. Perhaps I'm missing something, but this seems largely to me like an effort to keep Palin from increasingly turning off voters who have legitimate questions about her views and her experience, and play up her primary asset instead, which is the adoration with which the right-wing regards her. It just seems rather obvious to me that McCain and his advisors thought they could pick someone who would simultaneously fire up the base and whose views, experience (or lack thereof) and questionable acts as both mayor and governor could be largely downplayed and minimized in the minds of voters. That strategy appears to have failed; Palin has fired up the voters McCain should expect to already have on his side, and has largely failed to impress the voters he desperately needs to win, and now her media appearances in non-controlled settings are to be curtailed.