52% Say Palin’s Views Closer To Theirs Than Obama’s

While Sarah Palin is viewed unfavorably by half of likely voters, they nonetheless think her views are more like their own than President Obama's.

A majority of Americans surveyed by Rasmussen Reports agree more with Sarah Palin than Barack Obama.

Fifty-two percent (52%) of Likely U.S. Voters say their own views are closer to Sarah Palin’s than they are to President Obama’s, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Just 40% say their views are closer to the president’s than to those of the former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate.

Among the Political Class, however, 68% say their views are more like Obama’s, while 63% of Mainstream voters describe their views as more like Palin’s.

Eighty-four percent (84%) of Republicans and 59% of voters not affiliated with either major party say their views are more like Palin’s. Eighty-one percent (81%) of Democrats say they think more like the president.

White House Press secretary Robert Gibbs last week said Palin is perhaps “the most formidable force in the Republican Party right now,” but just 22% of all voters agree. Fifty-two percent (52%) do not believe Palin is the party’s most formidable force. Twenty-six percent (26%) aren’t sure.

None of the above surprises me.   Palin is a populist, after all, and she’s made a career out of persuading voters she’s just like them.

What’s at least mildly interesting, though, is that when we look at the toplines we find only 40% of those surveyed think Palin is “good for the Republican Party” and 49% have an unfavorable view of her, compared to only 48% favorable.   So, to get to 52%, she’s actually drawing “support” from people who dislike her.

More starkly, the same sample that had 31% with a “very unfavorable” view of Palin nonetheless had only 40% thinking Obama’s views were closer.   Which, given that Obama has high approval numbers, means that there are a substantial number of people who agree with Palin but simply dislike her.

FILED UNDER: Public Opinion Polls, Sarah Palin, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    But, but, but, she can’t win!  We used to have a saying when I was in the military.  If you did not believe something the comment was hide and watch.  To the scoffers, conceal yourself and observe.

  2. grampagravy says:

    Apples and oranges-comparing people’s opinion of what they think about someone who says what they want to hear with the opinions expressed about someone who says what they need to hear. The 68% for Obama among politicos is the number that matters. The rest is comparing an entertainer to a politician during tough times. Absurdity.

  3. James Joyner says:

    The 68% for Obama among politicos is the number that matters.

    Matters for what?  This is a Likely Voters survey. While I’m a member of Rasmussen’s “political class,” we hardly constitute the decisive voting bloc.

  4. Brummagem Joe says:

    Jim, dear heart, this is a Rasmussen stunt poll intended to garner a few headlines and the attention of bloggers. Regard it as holy writ if you wish, but I’ll stick with my inate scepticism.  

  5. reid says:

    This seems mostly meaningless.  A frighteningly large number of people think Obama is a far left liberal, if not marxist or muslim or something.  We already knew this was a problem, and these results just reflect it to some unknown degree.  Just another anti-Obama talking point.  I don’t mind emboldening Palin, though.

  6. James Joyner says:

    this is a Rasmussen stunt poll

    Your evidence for this being, what, exactly?  Rasmussen’s numbers have been outliers when others were doing meaningless “adult” or “registered voter” polls while he was doing “likely voter” screening.  But, on polls where others are doing same, his numbers aren’t outliers.

  7. […] the fact that a majority of Americans apparently agree with Sarah Palin on issues like the size of government, even her most fervent supporters don’t seem too eager to see her sitting behind the Resolute […]

  8. Steve Plunk says:

    The denial of the Left is becoming quite amusing.  Palin voices common themes of tradition and patriotism.  What’s not to like?  Unfortunately I still think she’s not ready for higher office.

  9. Tano says:

    A majority of Americans surveyed by Rasmussen Reports agree more with Sarah Palin than Barack Obama.
     
    A carefully crafted sentence. Yes, a majority of the American who Rasmussen decided to survey. That is NOT the same thing as a majority of Americans. Rasmussen is well-known for always using a biased sample – what he characterizes as a “likely voter’ screen, yet it is not like a normal likely voter screen. These screens are used by pollsters in the weeks before an election to give their polls some predicitive power, and they are implemented by asking people if they are likely to vote. It is not really possible to do a likely voter screen if there is no election upcoming, and it there is no rationale for using such a screen for non-horse race questions even then.
     
    But Rasmussen always uses what he calls a likely voter screen whether there is an election or not, and he does so for policy questions as well as horse race questions. He implements this screen by discounting the responses of people who can be characterized as members of groups that tend to have lower voting rates. Thus he concocts a subset of “real” America – one that is older, whiter, richer and more conservative than the country as a whole. And that is the group that he always asks all his questions. That is why he always gets answers that are skewed to the right. And with those answers he succeeds in often driving the dominant narratives in the media coverage of the issues.

  10. James Joyner says:

    But Rasmussen always uses what he calls a likely voter screen whether there is an election or not, and he does so for policy questions as well as horse race questions.

    Well, we’re in the midst of an election cycle now.  And it’s perfectly valid to screen for likely voters, anyway, in that the opinions of those who don’t vote really don’t much matter.

  11. Tano says:

    Rasmussen’s numbers have been outliers when others were doing meaningless “adult” or “registered voter” polls while he was doing “likely voter” screening.

     
    What on earth does this mean? How can surveys of “adults” or “registered voters” be seen as meaningless? What do you imagine the point of doing a poll is anyway?
     
    Polling is meant to give a picture of what public opinion is. What do the people out there really think about issues, or about upcoming elections. Polls are not meant to be predictions of anything, they are meant to be snapshots.
     
    It is obviously perfectly plausible for a good reputable poll to report that candidate A is preferred by 5 points, the day before an election, and then have candidate B win by a point. The poll is not necessarily wrong. The public as a whole may have preferred candidate A, but those who actually voted were a non-random subset of the public at large, and those people preferred B. We can look at the poll, and the result, and see the effect of turnout.
     
    But unfortunately, people look at the result and claim the poll was “wrong”. That is because, although polls are snapshots, not predictors, the consumers of polls WANT them to be predictors. Thats what news junkies, politicians, contributors, and casual observers want. They want to know what is going to happen before it happens. So the pollsters have to respond to that market.
     
    That is the ONLY reason why polling firms do “likely voter” screens – to transform their polls from reporting instruments to predicitive instruments – from giving snapshots, to telling us what is going to happen (or trying to).
     
    But what we are talking about here is a policy question. As you implied in your first question, and as everyone will, guaranteed, infer – this poll is framed as an insight into the views of the American people. But it is, rather, an insight into the views of Rasmussen’s American – a Republican-friendly subset of the real American with lots of the young, or minorities, or liberals screened out.
     
    One can make an argument that likely voter screens should never be used, since the goal of a good poll is to take that snapshot of what the population as a whole feels. But given the demand for predictive polls, one can justify a proper likely-voter screen being used only for horse-race questions, and only in the immediate run-up to an election (the last few weeks at most).
     
    There is no justification for screening out any group on a policy question – yet Rasumussen does it all the time. He is a propagandist, not a pollster.

  12. Tano says:

    But, but, but, she can’t win!
     
    I have to take the opportunity to agree with Zels here. No, she cannot win.
    From that same Rasmussen survey (but buried way down on a secondary page in the explanation -gee, why is that???):
     

    As for Sarah Palin, ex-governor of Alaska and the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, only 26% feel she is qualified to be president, but 61% do not. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure.
     

  13. wr says:

    Another reason this poll is meaningless: Sarah Palin can talk in bland platitudes about freedom and America and the constitution, and they can mean everything to everybody because she’s never required to give specifics, since she’s got no power and no authority.

    Obama can start with a theme, but he’s got to follow it with a policy, and that’s where people start disagreeing.

    If Palin actually laid out the Tea Party policy of ending social security and medicare or declaring unemployment insurance unconsitutional, you might find the numbers shift a little…

  14. Tano says:

    the opinions of those who don’t vote really don’t much matter.

     
    Well that sure sounds like the perspective of someone who is “in the game”.  I am a democrat – we are talking small “d” here – so I disagree. I think everyone matters, equally, even if, by not voting, they fail to make themselves a factor in how the system works.

  15. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    James, if you do not think your blog has shifted to the left, read the comments.  First I noted the attack on the messanger not the message. 

    Tano, that was sarcasm, in case you cannot recognize it.  If you underestimate Palin, you will find out what happens just like Americans did when they did not take the warning signs abouit Obama’s tendencies seriously.  The difference is Palin wants to save the nation as it was founded and Obama wants to transform it into some other form of failed system.  Progressives only seek control and the only way to get it is through transformation into a more socialist society.  Socialism does not work, stupid.

  16. Tano says:

    Don’t call me stupid Zels.
    Its an ad hominem.  Why not focus on the issue. Please explain how Palin could possibly win given that 61% of the people – in a Republican-favoring poll – think she is not even qualified for the job. How do you imagine she can get to 50% of the people voting for her?

  17. Pete says:

    Tano, you may be right about Palin not being able to win, but if she endorses a winnable candidate, then that would amount to virtually the same thing. And if many Americans like what she stands for, then hopefully she will make the right choice.

  18. Steve Plunk says:

    Tano,  Palin could win because we’re over two years away from the election.  The way things are going any Republican nominee could beat the presumed nominee of the Democrats.  I’m looking for a different Republican but if nominated I will support her.  Our current president has proven to be unqualified so why not?

  19. matt says:

    The difference is Palin wants to save the nation as it was founded and Obama wants to transform it into some other form of failed system.

    Well at least we can agree that Palin’s intended system is a failure…

  20. Neil Hudelson says:

    Zels, the man who has wished for–if not implicitly threatened–the death of all center/left of center commenters is mad that someone “attacked the messenger.”
     
    Color me shocked.

  21. Steve Plunk says:

    matt,  Your statement implies we are a failure as a nation.  That’s wrong.  The nation as it was founded is considered a success worldwide.  Except maybe Cambridge, Berkeley, and various other college towns.

  22. matt says:

    STeve : I’m just playing with zef. I don’t believe this nation has been anything resembling a failure at this point.

  23. tom p says:

    Your statement implies we are a failure as a nation. 

    Steve, my statement here, not only implies, it ASSERTS that we as a nation have failed on numerous occasions, most recently the Iraq invasion and before that the Afghan invasion. You may point out that these are not yet settled questions (and would be, in a strict sense, correct) but based upon the expectations at the times of initiation, one can hardly argue, they are a success.

    Does that make us, as a nation, a failure? Is Greece a failure? Spain? Russia? Venezuela? Zimbabwe? They all, as we do, still exist as nations. Therefor they, and we, are not “failures”.

    Does that make them (and us) successes?

    As far as people sharing Palin’s views…

    color me frightened.