It has been over two years since the “Lower 48” was introduced to Sarah Palin because of the immeasurably meticulous and thoughtful vetting performed by Senator John McCain’s campaign staff, which felt that the governor of Alaska was a better running mate for the presidency in 2008 than former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney or sitting Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty. But after an initial favorable response from many, Sarah Palin began to see a steady drop in her popularity. And although she has helped Republicans take back the House of Representatives in the midterms, produced a bestselling book, sold out speeches, and has her own reality show, she still remains an overall unpopular figure.
A recent Gallup Poll shows that Americans view Palin more unfavorably than they ever have. A full 52 percent of those surveyed by the Gallup organization have unfavorable views of the half-term governor of Alaska. At the same time, her 40 percent favorable rating ties her with the lowest rating of favorability that she has shown.
Numbers taken from a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll conducted before the midterm elections were comparable: 49 percent unfavorable, 40 percent favorable.
Gallup noted that the dissatisfaction with Palin centers around Independents. Since the summer, her favorable rating among the same voting bloc that helped Republicans retake the House of Representatives and close the majority gap in the Senate fell eight percentage points to 35 percent. Meanwhile, her stock has gone up among Republican voters since July: five points to 80 percent. Still, that was met with an almost identical drop among Democratic voters: 3 points to 15 percent.
The survey allows for a margin of error of plus or minus four points. That would still place Sarah Palin’s numbers, given a best-case scenario, at 48 percent unfavorable as opposed to 44 percent favorable.
With the number of registered voters also favoring the Democrats and with the general trend of Independents viewing the Alaska governor unfavorably, the polls don’t seem to indicate that Palin would fare very well in a national general election. However, those numbers do seem to bode well for victory in Republican primaries. Still, if the GOP wants to take back the White House in 2012, serious consideration for Palin’s overall electability must be made.
Unless there is a major shift in numbers in the next two years — and there very well could be — Republicans, if they should choose Palin as their 2012 candidate for the presidency, would lose the general election to an incumbent President Obama. According to a second CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey conducted after the midterms, Palin would lose in a 2012 presidential bid 52 percent to 44 percent. Both former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney would fare better against Obama, with Huckabee defeating the President by the same margin as Obama would beat Palin. Romney would also win, but by a closer margin: 50 percent to 45 percent.
But the 2012 general election is just over 23 months away, which is plenty of time to get those favorability numbers up across the board. And it won’t be for lack of trying. Palin has a new book ready to drop. Her name is ubiquitous on the Internet, whether it be from the former Alaska governor herself posting to Twitter or Facebook or someone writing about her. She seems to be giving a speech every other day somewhere. Op-ed pieces with her by-line are becoming commonplace in major newspapers or on news media websites. She is constantly popping up on Fox News as a paid contributor or on CNN or some radio show for voluntary commentary. And she is also starring in her own reality show on TLC, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” which seems to have become a hit.
The numbers might actually go up — if people don’t get tired of her first. That is assuming that they haven’t already…