Sarah Palin: Hot In The GOP, Not So Hot In America

When it comes to opinions about Sarah Palin, there is a striking difference between Republicans and Americans in general.

A new Gallup poll reveals the stark difference between the way Republicans feel about Sarah Palin, and the way the rest of America feels about her:

Washington (CNN) – For many Democrats in Washington, a Sarah Palin presidential run would be a dream come true.

As their thinking goes, Palin’s popularity among Republican base voters in early primary states would be enough to swamp the rest of the 2012 field and vault the conservative firebrand to the GOP nomination.

But in a general election, her standing among independent and swing voters, which began to crater in the closing weeks of the 2008 presidential race, might be too much to overcome.

New (admittedly early) polling data suggests that very scenario could play out if she decides to seek the White House.

According to a new Gallup survey, 76 percent of Republicans have a favorable opinion of Palin – the highest rating among any of the presumed presidential candidates. The former Alaska governor also maintains the strongest name recognition of any potential candidate, while only 20 percent of Republicans view her unfavorably.

(…)

Among all Americans, though, Palin’s numbers are upside down. More Americans view her in a negative light (47 percent) than a positive one (44 percent). What’s more, only nine percent of Americans haven’t formed an opinion of the former Alaska governor, making it difficult for her to correct that deficit.

Here are the full results of that last question:

Palin’s biggest problem, this poll shows isn’t just her high negatives, its the fact that nearly everyone has already formed an opinion about her. In fact, the overall public opinion of Palin hasn’t changed all that much since Americans went to the polls in November 2008:

In the national Election Day exit poll, fully 60% of voters said they did not consider her qualified to serve as president if necessary, while only 38% thought she would be ready to step in. Those figures were daunting enough, but new calculations from the exit poll provided by the NBC News political unit show that outside of the Republican base skepticism about Palin’s credentials reached even more imposing heights. While 74% of Republicans thought Palin was qualified, just 35% of independents and 9% of Democrats agreed, the figures (first aired on David Gregory’s 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Monday night) showed.

And while 40% of voters without college education thought she could step in, just 35% of college graduates agreed. Fully 63% of college graduates rated her unqualified.

Likewise, while Palin scored relatively better in the South-45% of southerners thought she was qualified, and 53% did not-she faced towering levels of resistance in the east and west (where voters by more than two-to-one in each case considered her unqualified.) The Midwest tracked the national numbers, with two-fifths calling her qualified, and three-fifths not.

The same pattern was evident by location: Palin ran best among rural voters (45% qualified, 53% not), but sagged among suburbanites (40% yes, 59% no) and collapsed among urban residents (just 30% qualified, 67% not).

In all, the figures underscore the dilemma Palin presents for the GOP: while quite popular among the party base, she faces deep resistance from voters outside of it, including many of the groups (independents, college graduates, residents of the coasts) who turned most sharply away from the GOP in last week’s rout.

Sound familiar ? It should, because it’s pretty much the same thing that we’re seeing today — Republicans love Palin, but the general public most decidedly does not. The reality that that central point has not changed in nearly two years makes it incredibly unlikely that anything will happen between now and 2012 to redeem Palin in the eyes of the general public.

Finally, there’s the fact that Palin has history against her. There has only been one occasion in American history where the Vice-Presidential nominee on a losing ticket went on to become President themselves. It happened in 1932, when Franklin Roosevelt, who had been the Vice-Presidential running mate of Democrat James Cox in 1920, became the first such person to be elected President. And Sarah Palin isn’t Franklin Roosevelt.

Nonetheless, we are witnessing an almost unprecedented phenomenon. The most popular person in the Republican Party has no realistic chance of beating Barack Obama, and yet she’s got a very realistic shot at winning the nomination. This is going to be fun to watch.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Politicians, Sarah Palin, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    She has been pictured as an idiot by the MSM, however those who hear her know she knows of what she speaks. When and if she runs head to head with Obama, we will see what Americans believe. The truth and what has always worked in America or some ideologial bull sh*t shoveled at us by a far left radical who’s posing as a centrist does not match his actions. How big does the deficit have to get? How much does the government have to grow and control before people realize freedom is not the goal of the left. It is always the same. Enslavement. Read Alinsky’s book before you have to.

  2. floyd says:

    Ok, let’s follow this silly little piece of propaganda to it’s logical conclusion….
    What politician, using the same standards would not be described as,
    “Not So Hot In America” from either party?

  3. John says:

    Everybody’s undefeated before the season starts Doug.

  4. John,

    Palin’s numbers are as close to being set in stone as you can get in politics.

    If she runs, she might win the GOP nomination. She will not win the Presidency.

  5. Michael says:

    Why is Doug so endlessly pessimistic about everything?

  6. Michael says:

    “If she runs, she might win the GOP nomination. She will not win the Presidency.”
    So Doug is a pessimiss who can see into future. Impressive!

  7. Since I don’t want Sarah Palin within 1000 yards of the Oval Office, I don’t consider this pessimism 😉

  8. Brummagem Joe says:

    The fact that over three quarters of the GOP approve of her is a testament to the current intellectual state of the Republican party. Palin has the potential to be another Landon who as Dorothy Parker quipped, would have let FDR carry Canada if he’d made another speech. On the other hand, I favor a Palin candidacy because it will quickly settle once and for all the direction of the Republican party. It’s a pity it’s not going to happen.

  9. Joe,

    And I find myself wishing it would happen because it would sure as heck provide a lot of blog material 😉

  10. Herb says:

    “The fact that over three quarters of the GOP approve of her is a testament to the current intellectual state of the Republican party”

    The fact that a lot of those people like her primarily because she “pisses liberals off” also says something…

  11. sam says:

    I think Sarah is gearing up to run. I hear she really likes the music in this videoand is trying to get the rights to it for her campaign song. She said the band reminds her of staff meetings, and the whole thing takes her back to her college days — except for that college that had the funny colored people in it.

  12. Brummagem Joe says:

    Herb says:
    “The fact that a lot of those people like her primarily because she “pisses liberals off” also says something”

    They need to understand the difference between irritation and hilarity. As Barney Frank said, Palin has 75% support from Republicans and 100% from Democrats.

    “And I find myself wishing it would happen because it would sure as heck provide a lot of blog material ”

    Very true Doug, very true, an endless source of entertainment!!

  13. […] if we somehow do manage to have a strong economy by election time or, if the Republicans manage to nominate the one candidate who would guarantee Obama’s re-election, then Barack Obama will be the comeback kid and Republicans will be left wondering what went wrong […]

  14. Neil Hudelson says:

    I hope this doesn’t happen. Poor ol’ Zelsdorf’s head would implode when she lost, and then where would my daily entertainment come from?

  15. John says:

    Sorry Doug. My point being that on paper, even the Pittsburgh Pirates are optimistic before the first Spring Training game. Furthermore, it is easy for Palin and her supporters (or any potential candidate’s supporters for that matter) to beat their chests 18 months from the first round of primary debates.

    Once the season begins in earnest however they are quickly reminded that their act didn’t play so well the last time around either.

  16. floyd says:

    I see Doug has a great deal of confidence in Sarah’s marksmanship! [lol]

  17. Juneau: says:

    If she runs, she might win the GOP nomination. She will not win the Presidency.

    I’m not too sure. Even if your liberal assessment of her intelligence and talents were correct, the country has just shown that it is willing to elect a brainless, inexperienced, token minority candidate. It all depends on how long America wants to sustain the pattern in rebellion against the standard politician stereotype.

  18. Smooth Jazz says:

    “If she runs, she might win the GOP nomination. She will not win the Presidency.”

    Dude,

    Ahem, Perhaps you haven’t seen the latest pols that show the country – except for the obligatory feminists, labor, minorities and other left wing groups – has thoroughly rejected the current occupant of the White House, and these groups will have to been VERY motivated the next time around to save him. Or perhaps you haven’t seen the latest Dem PPP poll which shows she is tied with Barack.

    All I can say is that you are delusional – like all the other left wing bloggers out there. This site is as biased as Daily Kos, Andrew Sullivan et al sans all the conspiracy theories regarding her son’s birth etc.

    There is no way this blogger can predict:

    1. The visceral hatred for Barack next time around, and to what extent the country will want and demand anybody, I MEAN ANYBODY, else
    2. The ability for Gov Palin to tap into a reservoir of emotion: Her negatives are at 47%, which means she has a shot of getting a shot at 53% – The same % Barack won with last time

    Perhaps he didn’t see that 46-46 tie with Barack I mentioned earlier. That in and of itself should give this left wing blogger pause. Of course, you can always continue to be delusional. Her 44-47 favorable rating split is right around where Barack is at these days in case you haven’t noticed.

    GL to to you. I have a feeling you & Barack will need it.

  19. Pug says:

    … the country has just shown that it is willing to elect a brainless, inexperienced, token minority candidate.

    Apparently this gives Palin supporters hope.

  20. Pug says:

    There was “visceral hatred for Barack” last time around. Didn’t help much, did it?

    Some wing nuts like Mr. Jazz don’t seem to understand that visceral hatred is not a winning platform.

  21. tmSparty says:

    It’s been my experience, at least with my Republican friends, that her numbers are better among the “party people” as opposed to the casual Republican voter. Can’t prove this, but merely an observation from wear I sit.

  22. Smooth Jazz says:

    “There was “visceral hatred for Barack” last time around. Didn’t help much, did it?”

    Well, no, but, this time is different: His performance, or lack thereof, in office. The guy has been an unmitigated disaster. Which goes to show the Harvard, elite SMART types don’t neccesarily make good Presidents. LIke I said, He better hope that next time around the economy is in half way decent shape and the usual left wing groups show up for him, otherwise he will be sent home packing to Chicago. Say what you want about Gov Palin, but she has a lot more experience than a part time Senator and full time community orgaizer.

  23. wr says:

    Smooth Jazz: So basically when you say that everyone hates Obama besides the “except for the obligatory feminists, labor, minorities and other left wing groups ,” you’re saying that middle aged white guys desperately trying to hold on to power in a changing country hate the black guy in the Oval Office. This is not news to anyone, and is in fact the entire Tea Party — lonely, sad people dreaming of the day that being white and male meant you ruled the world, even from your trailer.

  24. Smooth Jazz says:

    Say what??? Where did that come from. You’re bringing race into this not me. Do the math: Given where BO’s approval rating is today, a lot more groups hate the guy that “middle age white guys” DUH.

    For example, I’m an African American from Brooklyn, NY and I think the guy is a disaster, primarily because of all the spending and trillion dollar deficits. I can assure you that a lot of middle of the road, well meaning people like me think the same given his mid 40% approval rating and the built in support he gets from sympathic constituencies. The ONLY reason he isn’t in GWB territory (the 30%s) is because of that built in support.

    Keep thinking this is all racial. Your guy will be thinking the same thing when he is sent back to Chicago in 2012.

  25. […] bizarre, almost morbidly loyal support base from within their own camps, whilst outside of them being seen as a dream come true for the opposition. Washington (CNN) – For many Democrats in Washington, a Sarah Palin presidential run would be a […]

  26. wr says:

    Smooth Jazz: So does your self-description mean you’re not an “obligatory minority”? Are you a voluntary minority? And what is an obligatory minority, anyway?

  27. anjin-san says:

    . The guy has been an unmitigated disaster.

    I suppose that if you get all of your information from Fox News and Red State you might think that. Well “think” is probably giving you too much credit.

  28. sam says:

    @SmoothJazz

    “Say what you want about Gov Palin, but she has a lot more experience than a part time Senator and full time community orgaizer.”

    As a matter of empirical fact, that is plain wrong. The guy has been President of the United States for almost as long as she was governor of Alaska. Now if you think being governor of a state with a smaller population than the medium-sized city I live in is comparable, executive-wise, to being president, then I’m afraid you’re not a very serious person.