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67% Of Registered Voters Say Sarah Palin Unqualified To Be President

While Sarah Palin continues to send out signals that seem to indicate she’s running for President in 2012, the vast majority of American voters don’t think she’s qualified for the job:

Sarah Palin’s interest in the presidency is not being reciprocated by most Americans: Two-thirds of registered voters in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll say she’s unqualified for the job, and more than half continue to rate her unfavorably overall.

Those results come after Palin, in a television interview this week, said she’d run in 2012 “if there’s nobody else to do it.” That echoed a comment in February, when she said she wouldn’t “close the door that perhaps could be open for me in the future.”

This poll, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, suggests steep challenges. Palin appears to have gained little luster from the success of the Tea Party political movement with which she’d aligned: Just 39 percent of registered voters see her favorably, the most basic measure of a public figure’s popularity. That’s essentially the same as her lows, 37 percent, last winter and spring.

Even fewer, just 27 percent, see her as qualified for the presidency, also essentially unchanged. Sixty-seven percent say she’s not qualified; this peaked at 71 percent in February.

While there are political and ideological divides on Palin, she faces hurdles across the board. Even in her own party, Republicans divide, 47 percent to 46 percent, on whether she’s qualified or unqualified to serve as president. Conservatives split, 45-48 percent, as do Tea Party supporters, 48-48 percent.

In only two groups do majorities see Palin as qualified – conservative Republicans, by 55-40 percent; and “strong” supporters of the Tea Party movement, by a broad 73-22 percent. (They’re a small group, one in 10 registered voters.)

While 82 percent of Democrats and 84 percent of liberals see her as unqualified, as do 70 percent of swing-voting independents and 77 percent of self-described political moderates.

These are extraordinary numbers to see regarding someone that people still regard as a serious player in American politics. I’ve been following politics since the 1980s, and I cannot remember someone who was so wildly unpopular with the general public who still had widespread influence within a major political party.  Dan Quayle had incredibly high negative numbers, but even as Vice-President he was never considered to be a serious voice of influence within the GOP, and when he dipped his toes into the Presidential waters, the GOP greeted his candidacy with a collective shrug.

Not so for Sarah Palin.

Despite the fact that she is viewed negatively by a majority of Americans, she is somehow one of the most popular  leaders in the Republican Party and the conservative political movement. This despite the fact that her political experience consists of a few years as small-town Mayor, a half-term as Governor, and a failed bid for the Vice-Presidency. It’s not what one typically sees from Republicans, who usually rally behind the person with experience and at least some sense of seriousness. With Palin, the lack of experience seems to be a positive for her supporters, and instead of gravitas we have celebrity as evidenced by appearances on reality television and “celebrity” dancing shows. It is the kind of adulation one normally sees attached to a Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley rather than a Ronald Reagan, and I’m not entirely sure it’s appropriate for politics.

As I’ve said before, a typical politician would look at numbers like these, realize that they can’t win, and decide not to run for the good of their party. Sarah Palin, however, does not think like a typical politician, as Steven Taylor noted just yesterday:

Palin represents the culmination of the rise of partisan (specifically in this case Republican/conservative) media that started in the mid-to-late 1980s and grew up alongside the growth of niche media and the segmentation of news/commentary consumption in the United States because of cable and the internet.   It is possible now to not only get conservative-oriented news and commentary it is possible to get exclusively conservative-oriented news and commentary.  Further, Palin has cleverly exploited long-standing resentments within the public about perceptions of liberal bias in the press.   This is especially true of older voters who remember (and resented) the pre-cable era when all the news came through the Big Three Networks and from anchors who were often believed to have liberal-leaning perspectives.

(…)

If one places oneself in a situation in which one is more likely to be praised than not (not to mention the clamor this election season for her endorsement), then one is likely to take a distorted view of one’s overall popularity (empirical evidence to the contrary be damned, such as a 22% favorable, 48% not favorable rating in a recent poll).  I know people who are convinced that Palin’s national popularity is on the rise despite the aforementioned empirical evidence.  Why do they think this?  It is because the only news that they consume outside of the local newspaper is Fox News Channel, especially its commentary programming.  If viewers think this (and a poll of Fox News consumers would be quite interesting on this count), then it is hardly difficult to see Palin self-deluding on her actual popularity.  Further, it is generically easy for politicians to see themselves from the perspective of their more ardent supporters rather than from the POV of the broader public.

This is why I think that not only will Palin run for President in 2012, but that she stands a better-than-most-expect chance of winning the GOP nomination. Unless the nation plunges into a deep recession just prior to the 2012 elections, this would virtually guarantee the re-election of Barack Obama and could quite possibly lead to a disaster down-ticket for the GOP just two years after their 2010 triumph. It would be a suicide mission, but it would be exactly what you’d expect from someone at the center of a cult of personality.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    “It would be a suicide mission, but it would be exactly what you’d expect from someone at the center of a cult of personality.”

    Funny, the first time I read this I thought you were referring to Obama. Silly me!

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  2. ponce says:

    Palin reminds me of huckster Aimee Semple McPherson

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  3. I think you may be surprised at how many in the tea party movement understand that she is not the best choice. I will not back her in the primary if she chooses to run.

    Cult of personality is correct. Far too many won’t even let you say something the least bit negative about her. That is not healthy in a politican.

    I personally like her stands on the issues, but we need to get obama out of office and I don’t think she is the person to do it. We will have plenty of good people to choose from, Obama is looks beatable, the line will start forming very soon.

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  4. fustrated says:

    i know. why elect a woman that doesn’t have years and years of experience. look what they’ve done to our country. but we did elect Obama, who had less experience than Palin does. how does everybody justify that. why because she’s a woman. all you women know by now we are treated so different from men in politics. what makes people think that a woman can’t run a country? Everyone was happy to see the first black president. i would love to see the first female president now. if anyone can budget money and keep things in line and have a career, guess who.

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  5. Gerry W. says:

    I don’t care if a monkey is president. The fact remains that the democrats and the republicans have no answers. The democrats seem to be lost and the republicans are still caught up with their failed ideology.

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  6. Landon St. Peter says:

    Palin erased any any electability she had when she quit as Governor (of one of the most strategically and economically important states) as soon as they flashed the bucks in front of her. She cashed out fast and moved on with, it seems, nary another thought for Alaska. She likes being a celeb, and she seems good at raising cash, so let’s keep her doing what she’s been doing, raising money and looking good. If the Rah-pub-li-crats nominate her in ’12, Obama wins in landslide, and can rightly claim a mandate for his second term. Some common sense folks! Palin is UNELECTABLE!

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  7. Rock says:

    The opposition will always tell you who they are afraid of. For some reason all the misogynist are afraid of Sarah Palin.

    If she is so unqualified to do anything but skin out an Alaskan moose, if that, why the obsession with her? She thrives on this goofy obsession. Ignore her and she will fade away into the night, never to haunt the wet dreams of the inside or outside the beltway ruling class ever again.

    The only real reason for this obsession is because the ruling class wants the first female president to be a liberal democrat and not a conservative of any stripe.

    Rock

    See you after shock and awe!

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  8. Franklin says:

    I have little doubt she’s a hard worker, smart, a great mother, etc. But if she’s serious about the Presidency, she’s got to brush up on the things that are important for that position. She has shown no inclination to do so. Instead when the going got tough, she quit so she could start a reality show. Is there any question as to why voters feel she’s unqualified?

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  9. Steve Plunk says:

    She’s not my choice for a candidate but she is as qualified as the current occupant of the White House. She fills the lightning rod role well and I hope to see her continue with that.

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  10. Herb says:

    You know, I’m a card carrying liberal with some conservative ideas on a few issues, but when I look at the Republican party these days, I’ve just got one word: Seriously?

    They’re poised to take control of congress in what some observers are calling a “wave election” and their big plan is to sit on their hands preparing for the 2012 presidential election (the Gridlock Gambit) and then in 2012, they’re going to give us a choice between Sarah Palin and __blank___?

    Seriously? It’s almost funny, but also kind of sad.

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  11. John P says:

    @ Steve…and how qualified do you believe the current occupant to be?

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  12. tom p says:

    “These are extraordinary numbers to see regarding someone that people still regard as a serious player in American politics. ”

    Doug, I do not doubt for even one second the stupidity of the American electorate. Consider these numbers:

    2… not 1, but TWO unfunded wars,

    Cost??? Trillions????

    two tax cuts… not one but TWO tax cuts funded by borrowing from the social security trust fund (gee… SS is no longer sustainable… I wonder why?) and China.

    Cost??? Unknowable…. The GOP wants to make them “permanent”. (if you aren’t ROFL at this “idea”, you are an idiot)

    A brand new unfunded Medicare benifit (Part D for the uninitiated)…

    And just think, it wasn’t that long age GOP’ers wanted to END Medicare.

    A recession that was ALMOST a full blown depression (according to most economists)(the ones I have read anyway)…

    Yeah, you can lay this egg at the doormat of both GOP and DEM… but it is the GOP that are saying we need MORE deregulation. (and for the record, as much as it pains me, I give “W” most of the credit for avoiding the “depression”)

    I could go on Doug, as you well know, but the point is that people are actually going to vote for GOP candidates (including you) on the basis that they are MORE fiscally “responsible” than DEMs.

    Sarah Palin is tapping into that alternate reality and I do not for even one second underestimate it’s power.

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  13. tom p says:

    (including you?)

    missed the question mark…sorry.

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  14. steve says:

    She is definitely going to get the 2012 nomination. I eagerly await the writings of Dr. Joyner on the issue.

    Steve

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  15. Steve Plunk says:

    John P, I believe the current occupant to be less qualified than some of those before him and no more qualified than Sarah Palin.

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  16. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Cult of personaliy is what Obama is. He had no experience. None. He never earned a paycheck in the private sector where a profit had to be shown. He has a bad personality and wishes to punish his enemies, the American people. He is qualified to be President and Palin who has done nothing except benefit those she served is not? Doug you seem to be very afraid of Pailn. Facinated by her and what she does. You are quite a piece of work. She is everything you are not. Attractive, accomplished and honest.

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  17. Herb says:

    “I believe the current occupant to be less qualified than some of those before him and no more qualified than Sarah Palin.”

    Of course you do, Steve. You’re entitled to your beliefs, of course, but some of them shouldn’t be uttered aloud lest you want to be laughed at.

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  18. Herb says:

    Zels, you make the same mistake Steve does. Your unthinking, reactive (and frankly immature) partisanship allows your mouth (or typing fingers) to say some ridiculous stuff.

    “He has a bad personality and wishes to punish his enemies, the American people.”

    He has a bad personality????? HAHAHAHAHA.

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  19. Davebo says:

    Cult of personaliy is what Dubya is. He had no experience. None. He never earned a paycheck in the private sector where a profit had to be shown. He has a bad personality and wishes to punish his enemies, the American people.

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  20. Franklin says:

    Classic response, Davebo.

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  21. sookie says:

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m a Palin fan in many ways. I think she can have great influence and if she chooses to spend that influence wisely, help promote the fiscal conservative positions of smaller government, less regulation, fewer taxes ( don’t give a rats ass about social conservative issues as I tend to be a moderate or libertarian on them, but I care a great deal about big, expensive and intrusive government, be that from the right or the left ).

    I think she was treated with skepticism and such disrespect by the media, they should be ashamed. She was questioned by the media for readiness, in ways the Won was never challenged. See what we have because the media completely and utterly failed. He was and still is unprepared for the job.

    But back to Paiin, while I do admire her in many ways, I think if she wants to be president, she’s not there yet and I don’t think she’ll be there in 2 yrs. She may never be and might best for her and for conservatives if she were to spend her capital and influence in other ways. In other words, she may never be king, but she might be a king maker.

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  22. Gerry W. says:

    *** don’t give a rats ass about social conservative issues as I tend to be a moderate or libertarian on them***

    Well, I agree with you on the social issues.

    You talk of smaller government, less regulation, and fewer taxes. But is that enough? What about our infrastructure and the loss of jobs through globalization? The talk about smaller government, less regulation, and fewer taxes may sound nice, but it falls into the same trap as “laissez-faire.” I believe, if done right, that we need an active government, a government that will recognize our problems and propel us to invest our country and in the future. Other countries do it.

    You talk of smaller government and we did not get that under Bush when he was giving tax cuts and relying on “trickle down” and “stay the course.”

    You talk of less regulation and I agree, however, this is so generic that it is being misused. We saw the failure on Wall Street, heck, even BP and Halliburton cut corners. Hence, you need some regulation.

    You talk of fewer taxes, but we had the tax cuts. And nothing was fixed during that time. And the Bush tax cuts is spent money which does us little for today. We are in a place where the fed is printing money, the republicans want to cut more taxes, we are running up deficits and debt, and we have sent our jobs overseas. Nothing is making any sense. What we have seen is ideology and it failed. Now if you want smaller government, fine, but you still have to solve problems. And in a nut shell, what you get from the conservative side is tax cuts and the usual laissez-faire. And the middle class falls through the cracks.

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  23. anjin-san says:

    > I think she was treated with skepticism and such disrespect by the media, they should be ashamed.

    You must be joking. Go back and watch CNN’s coverage on her after her speech at the GOP convention. Campbell Brown was gushing over her to an extent that I though she was going to have an orgasam. Palin’s problems with the media started when she started avoiding them. On the occasions she did actually talk without a script, it became painfully obvious why she was avoiding the media.

    Hate to interfere with the rights quest for victimhood, but the media totally hung Howard Dean out to dry after his Iowa speech. They went after Clinton like sharks with blood in the water when his affair with Monica Lewinski was discovered. The media seeks targets of opportunity, left or right.

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  24. jwest says:

    Doug,

    A deep interest in politics and strong opinions on either side are good for the free and open discourse that makes our country great. You’ve demonstrated time and again that you care about the issues of the day.

    But seriously, you’ve got to talk with someone about this obsession with Sarah Palin.

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  25. WhatAboutBob says:

    This site seems to have a liberal slant! Never the less in defense of Sara Palin unlike most of the presidents of the last 100 years she would govern this country by the Constitution as opposed to those of the past believing this document no longer has significance to this country today! The reason we are in these trouble times today is the lack of Constitutional leadership that our founders of this nation over 200 years ago laid out! This nation became great by holding firm to its foundation and America has lost her way because Washington, DC has become full of liars,thieves, and people that lust for power and are doing just what our founding fathers warned us against! WAKE UP AMERICA OR WE WILL FALL JUST LIKE ROME DID!!

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  26. Gerry W. says:

    ***Never the less in defense of Sara Palin unlike most of the presidents of the last 100 years she would govern this country by the Constitution as opposed to those of the past believing this document no longer has significance to this country today! ***

    In other words, just tax cuts and laissez-faire. Which means everything else gets ignored. We hear this from all the robots. Palin is saying nothing new. All the ideologues sound the same. Just tax cuts and God and country. We have seen this story over and over again.

    Funny how Palin has said we should cut spending across the board except for defense. Well, the lobbying is starting with her. She offers nothing new. We are failing because of failed ideology and not recognizing our problems. Our biggest problem is globalization and the loss of the middle class.

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  27. sam says:

    “Never the less in defense of Sara Palin unlike most of the presidents of the last 100 years she would govern this country by the Constitution as opposed to those of the past believing this document no longer has significance to this country today!”

    How in the hell do you know that? I doubt she can tell you what Articles of the Constitution cover which topics.

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  28. The Olde Man says:

    The ‘bucks’ waved in front of SP was the $600,000+ personal legal fees and the #2,000,000 cost to the Alaskan gov for the (18?)(28?) ‘ethics’ charges filed against her. She lost one, after having followed legal advice that was in error. The others were thrown out.

    The goal was to drive her from public office and it worked.

    As for national level, she is living proof that Obama and Biden should not be in the White House. Her resume is way better than theirs and yet 2/3rd of the voters don’t think she is qualified. Based on that O and B are totally disqualified.

    I think the public is now wary of charismatic politicians. The gov of NJ is more in line what they will vote for, somebody that looks like your uncle and has shown capability. Too bad he is not running….yet.

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  29. anjin-san says:

    > The goal was to drive her from public office and it worked.

    If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Palin turned tail and ran in the face of something that looks like a pea shooter compared to what the right threw at Bill Clinton. And you want her sitting at the big desk? When someone can’t perform in double A, you don’t send them up to the majors…

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  30. An Interested Party says:

    “This site seems to have a liberal slant!”

    I guess every site to the left of Redstate.com now has a “liberal slant”…

    “I doubt she can tell you what Articles of the Constitution cover which topics.”

    Oh come now, you are being much too harsh on the poor lady…surely someone could coach her on the facts over the course of a few days…

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