Sarah Palin Trails Obama By 17 Points, September 3rd Announcement In Doubt

Is she in or is she out? And does it matter?

A new Rasmussen poll shows that nominating Sarah Palin would essentially be a suicide pact on the part of the GOP:

If Election Day was right now, President Obama would defeat the former Alaska governor 50% to 33%, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. This marks the first time that the president has risen out of the 40s in hypothetical matchups with any of the major GOP presidential hopefuls. Fifteen percent (15%) prefer some other candidate, and two percent (2%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Last month, Obama posted a 47% to 38% lead over Palin, the GOP’s unsuccessful vice presidential candidate in 2008.

Palin earns support from 62% of Republicans, while 88% of Democrats back the president. Voters not affiliated with either party prefer Obama by a 51% to 30% margin.

Obama holds a narrow 44% to 38% lead over Palin among male voters, but women prefer the incumbent by a sizable 56% to 29% margin.

The poll also shows Palin trailing Obama by significant margins among voters under 30 (12% Palin/64% Obama) 30-somethings (30/50). Obama also beats Palin among every single ethnic and income demographic, including white voters, where he beats Palin 43% to 38%. This isn’t entirely surprising, of course. Palin’s unfavorable numbers remain at all-time highs despite the fact that she’s kept herself out of the media spotlight (other than the bus tours, of course) over the past several months. Does anyone really think that Americans are going to like her more when she starts showing up on their television screen every single day between now and the Iowa Caucuses? Yea, I don’t either.

Numbers like this may be why, despite much speculation that September 3rd will see some big announcement about a campaign, the word now is that we won’t be hearing much of anything in two weeks:

Speculation that Palin might use the Labor Day weekend event to declare her candidacy has ramped up on cable news and the conservative blogosphere, but RCP has learned from sources close Palin that an official announcement is unlikely at that time.

Still, Palin’s speech is expected to offer more clues about whether she will jump into the race sometime in September, as some of her public comments and behind-the-scenes actions over the past several months have suggested is possible. And a core group of self-appointed volunteer organizers hope that the Indianola shindig will be one of the best-attended events of the presidential campaign season to date.

(…)

Peter Singleton, a California attorney who leads the Iowa branch of the all-volunteer group Organize4Palin, told conservative radio host Tammy Bruce on Saturday that in addition to Palin’s speech, the three-hour midday rally would include a diverse undercard of speakers, music and video interludes, and even a group lesson on precinct organizing.

The event will pose a significant test for Singleton and the rest of the all-volunteer army of Palin devotees who have for months been quietly paving the way for a presidential run that would be fueled by a dedicated core of political novices.

As Ed Morrissey notes, however, these volunteers are the only evidence, anecdotal as it is, that there might be some kind of a campaign organization forming:

At the moment, that seems to be the only evidence that Palin’s running at all — the proliferation of volunteer auxiliaries working to organize the event.  That will eventually pose a problem for an entry into the campaign, though, which is that the other campaigns will have staffed up in Iowa and elsewhere.  Assuming Palin does jump into the race, she will find the pickings slim for experienced staffers and organizers.  Of all the potential candidates who have yet to declare, Palin has the best odds of overcoming that handicap due to her near-universal name recognition, but in Iowa, organization and retail politics are the key to victory.

There’s another sign of what Palin’s intentions might actually be that’s might actually be more reliable. When Mike Huckabee was flirting with the idea of running for President, his bosses at Fox News warned him that he needed to make a choice between running for President and being a Fox News on-air personality. They gave the same warning to other potential candidates such as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Eventually, Fox terminated the contracts with Gingrich and Santorum even before they formally entered the race and, of course, Huckabee famously decided to sit 2012 out despite the fact that he was arguably the frontrunner at one point. To date, there has been no indication that anyone at Fox has said anything similar to Palin, and no sign that she’s close to cutting back her appearances on the network. At some point, I’ve got to beleive that Roger Ailes has had a conversation with Palin like he did with Huckabee, and made the choice clear. If she was really running, then why hasn’t Fox acted yet?

Perhaps Palin will get in, I’m beyond trying to figure out her intentions at this point. What the Rasmussen poll makes clear, though, is that nominating her would be handing the White House to Barack Obama on a silver platter, with the possibility of losing the House thrown in. Say what you might about them, but I don’t think Republicans are quite that stupid.

 

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 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Fiona says:

    Palin–still too stupid, narcissistic and scary to be President. Thank goodness! There’s some hope left for the Republic.

  2. Argon says:

    Only 17 points? I suppose that’s about right if the hypothesis about 30% of the electorate being insane is correct.

  3. Ron Beasley says:

    Who Cares?

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Doug, you really have to get help with this Palin obsession you have.

    ps :HEAVY sarcasm.

  5. Palin doesn’t want to be president; this is all about burnishing her media career. And if she runs, it will be with the same goal, not because she actually wants to win.

    Weirdly, the fact she loses handlly to Obama makes it more likely she will run. I don’t doubt she would love the chance to spend the next four years playing the martyr who tried to save America.

  6. Palin doesn’t need to be our president. The salary isn’t enough for her and she’d just abandon the post like she did in Alaska. Do you want someone in office whose main focus isn’t on the people but on her bank account? What Sarah’s after is fame and fortune and everything that goes. See the ways she sells herself at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/06/ecstasy-of-sarah-palin_15.html

  7. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Seventeen points with around fifteen percent uncommitted sounds about right.

    For my money a contest between Obama and Palin most closely would resemble the LBJ – Goldwater contest in 1964. LBJ won by around 23 percentage points and this latest Gallup poll extrapolates to something in or close to that very range.

    As far as whether Palin’s candidacy “matters,” you can betcha’ bottom dollar it certainly does matter, especially to Obama.

    If Palin runs it would turn the GOP primary process into a literal farce. Palin would consume so much political oxygen the eventual GOP nominee would be damaged goods, likely beyond repair. Then a large percentage of Palin’s rabid and irrational supporters would stay home and not vote in the general, to “protest” the results of the primary. Ergo if Palin runs that by itself drastically would increase Obama’s chances of reelection. Of course if Palin runs and gets the nomination Obama then would be a shoe-in for a 2nd term.

  8. Neil Hudelson says:

    Look, Doug, I’ve read a lot of these Palin posts of yours, and I’ve paid attention to the right wing commentors. If any of them (specifically Jay Tea) has taught me anything, it’s that your reading these polls all wrong.

    Of course Sarah is behind. She’s running a nontraditional campaign! Most politicians try to get “votes” and “a winning percentage” and “an electoral victory.” Sarah Palin isn’t traditional! She’s not going to win by getting more people to vote for her than the other guy! She’s going to win by being a true conservative, and ????? and then she wins!

  9. Jay Tea says:

    @Fiona: Palin–still too stupid, narcissistic and scary to be President.

    Well, Obama scores well on all three counts, and we’ve survived him so far… um…

    Lemme reconsider that.

    J.

  10. ponce says:

    She’s going to win by being a true conservative, and ????? and then she wins!

    ????? = Increase her falling income.

  11. anjin-san says:

    and we’ve survived him so far… um…

    Given the historically large train wreck Obama had waiting for on his desk when he took office, we are surviving pretty well. Guess you have forgotten we were on the verge of a full blow depression.

    Yes, we are surviving. Bin Laden & Gaddafi, not so much. Keep grinding your teeth skippy.

  12. Hey Norm says:

    So if Palin wins the election…who serves the second half of her term???

  13. BlairM says:

    Reagan was losing to Carter by at least that margin in March of 1980, and he’d been campaigning for seven or eight months. Palin hasn’t even seriously started campaigning yet. Give the girl a chance is what I say. Once she’s in, we’ll soon find out if she’s got what it takes.

  14. An Interested Party says:

    Well, Obama scores well on all three counts, and we’ve survived him so far…

    Well, you can try to compare the two, I suppose…but he was elected to a position that she will never even come close to…

    Reagan was losing to Carter by at least that margin in March of 1980, and he’d been campaigning for seven or eight months. Palin hasn’t even seriously started campaigning yet. Give the girl a chance is what I say. Once she’s in, we’ll soon find out if she’s got what it takes.

    Except for two little facts…Palin is not Reagan and Obama is not Carter…

  15. BlairM says:

    Except for two little facts…Palin is not Reagan and Obama is not Carter…

    Obama is far more incompetent and unpopular than Carter. His support is soft. I am not locked in for Palin by any means, but given that the exact same criticisms that are applied to Palin are applied to Reagan, that he was regarded as someone who couldn’t win, and that he was unpopular enough with the general public, and some Republicans, to spur an independent candidacy for President (Jon Anderson)… and still came back and won, it seems premature to write off someone like Palin, who is easily the most charismatic and magnetic Republican since Reagan. The primaries will be a trial by fire for her. If she survives them, she can win. If she doesn’t, it doesn’t matter because she won’t be the nominee.

  16. Kylopod says:

    >Reagan was losing to Carter by at least that margin in March of 1980, and he’d been campaigning for seven or eight months.

    That’s simply because Carter was relatively popular at the time, and therefore looked strong when matched against any of the potential Republican contenders. Reagan was never substantially less popular than his GOP rivals, nor was he massively unpopular with the country as a whole. In early 1979, Reagan’s favorable/unfavorable rating, 38/39%, was far more comparable to Romney’s 35.6/32.3% than to Palin’s 29.9/58.9%.

    If you want to believe that Palin’s entry in the race will erase her incredibly huge unpopularity in a way she’s been completely unable to do for three years, that’s your prerogative, but you’d be seriously insulting her by comparing such a phenomenally unprecedented feat to Reagan’s relatively modest surge in 1980.

  17. BlairM says:

    If you want to believe that Palin’s entry in the race will erase her incredibly huge unpopularity in a way she’s been completely unable to do for three years, that’s your prerogative, but you’d be seriously insulting her by comparing such a phenomenally unprecedented feat to Reagan’s relatively modest surge in 1980.

    Well like I say, she’s been a private citizen for two of those years, and suffered a constant barrage of MSM attacks on her personality, experience and character. It’s entirely possible that a proper political campaign will put her in the proper context in the public’s collective mind and make a difference. Or maybe not! I would like to find out, and I think everybody else should be given that opportunity too. However there seem to be a lot of angry people out there who are scared that she will somehow “trick” people into giving her the nomination. To misquote Sarah herself – WTF?! Well let me suggest that if she does “trick” people, then she might just be talented enough to win? And if she “fools” no-one, then at least we will know that we are better off with Perry, or Romney, or that horrible little congresswoman that everybody seems to like.

  18. Herb says:

    “I don’t think Republicans are quite that stupid.”

    The Republican establishment isn’t. Republican voters?

    Well, they were pretty enthused last time she tried to get a job at the White House…

  19. Hey Norm says:

    @ Blair M….
    Obama is incompetent? By what measure? The OBL measure? Or the Qaddaffi measure? The Auto Industry measure? Or the Health Care Reform measure?
    He sure seems to get a lot of stuff done while you silly people with Tea Bags dangling from your hats are trying to convince yourselves he’s incompetent.

  20. Fiona says:

    …but given that the exact same criticisms that are applied to Palin are applied to Reagan, that he was regarded as someone who couldn’t win, and that he was unpopular enough with the general public, and some Republicans,…

    Comparisons between Reagan and Palin are spurious at best. Reagan never had the same level of negative ratings Palin receives. Reagan was a successful two-term governor of the most populous state in the country. Palin quit her position as governor of the least populous state in the country after half a term because she couldn’t stand the heat and so she could cash in on her new-found fame. Reagan was nowhere near as woefully uninformed and ignorant as Palin. He actually had a governing philosophy; as near as I can tell, Palin’s philosophy is to exploit whatever situation she finds herself in for all it’s worth.

    In short, Palin is no Reagan, not even close. Nonetheless, it’ll be a hoot if she throws her hat into the ring. I know I’ll be waiting for the Palin-Bachman mud wrestling smack down.

  21. Kylopod says:

    @BlairM:

    It’s entirely possible that a proper political campaign will put her in the proper context in the public’s collective mind and make a difference.

    I’ve never heard of someone becoming more respected as a result of a presidential run. The opposite usually happens, because entering the race exposes the candidate to increased scrutiny, and the rough-and-tumble of campaign politics tends to make all the participants seem lesser in the public eye. Sometimes candidates with a negative reputation will undergo a remaking of their public image before entering the race, as Richard Nixon did before 1968, or Hillary Clinton did before 2008. But that’s a process that takes years. In the three years since Palin’s unimpressive debut on the national stage, her standing with the public has steadily worsened. If it’s all the fault of the “lamestream media” and she is actually an exemplary public figure who has done nothing to earn the scorn she has received, then formally launching a presidential bid won’t make much of a difference. The LSM will still be at her throat, only she will no longer have a platform on cable’s most popular “news” channel.

    Well let me suggest that if she does “trick” people, then she might just be talented enough to win?

    Winning a party’s nomination is no guarantee that a candidate will be a good general-election contender. Ask Barry Goldwater or George McGovern.