At 44, Sarah Louise Heath Palin is both the youngest and the first female governor in Alaska's relatively brief history as a state. She's also the most popular governor in America, with an approval rating that has bounced around 90 percent.
This is due partly to her personal qualities. When she was leading her underdog Wasilla high school basketball team to the state championship in 1982, her teammates called her "Sarah Barracuda" because of her fierce competitiveness.
Two years later, when she won the "Miss Wasilla" beauty pageant, she was also voted "Miss Congeniality" by the other contestants.
Sarah Barracuda. Miss Congeniality. Fire and nice. A happily married mother of five who is still drop dead gorgeous. And smart to boot.
But it's mostly because she's been a crackerjack governor, a strong fiscal conservative and a ferocious fighter of corruption, especially in her own party.
Ms. Palin touches other conservative bases, some of which Sen. McCain has been accused of rounding. Track, her eldest son, enlisted in the Army last Sept. 11. She's a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association who hunts, fishes and runs marathons. A regular churchgoer, she's staunchly pro-life.
RCP article here.
But see this WSJ op-ed, arguing that the vice-presidential pick isn't that important.
LA Times - Sarah Palin pick a hit with social conservatives
Wall Street Journal - Alaska's Sarah Palin: Governor, Reformer, Mother
FOX News - Obama Camp Plays Good Cop/Bad Cop
CNN - Alaska governor known as political outsider, pioneer
USA Today - Experts: Palin chosen for women's votes
UPDATE: Here's a video by some fans that advocated for her selection as VP:
Gotta love any politician who is unabashedly pro-gun and doesn't mind shooting an Evil Black Rifle on camera!