With the news today that someone is polling voters in Iowa and New Hampshire for Sarah Palin, it seems like a good time to take a look a poll released a few days ago which found that a potential matchup between Sarah Palin and Barack Obama would lead to biggest election blowout since Richard Nixon beat George McGovern in 1972.
According to The Mudflats, voters in the two early voting states have been receiving polling calls asking them their favorability rating of Palin, their agreement with her positions, and if they feel that it is important for her to run for reelection in Alaska. The last question has raised the most intrigue, along with a denial from Sarah Palin’s PAC that they are behind the polling. As if anyone had any doubt, the fact that polling is now being done for her, all but confirms that Palin will be running for president in 2012.
This development led me to wonder what a potential general election contest
between Sarah Palin and Barack Obama might look like in 2012. Well it just so happens that Public Policy Polling released a poll on this very subject last week, and things don’t look good for Gov. Palin. Obama would lead Palin the hypothetical contest 55%-35%.
Obama would have an 89%-7% edge with Democrats. More troubling for Palin would seem to be that many in her own party are not sold on her being the answer. She beats Obama 66%-17% among Republicans, but the president only received 9% of the GOP vote against John McCain, so Palin would be on pace to perform lower than McCain’s 2008 numbers which lower that George W. Bush’s 2000 and 2004 numbers. While 3% of Democrats are undecided about who they would support in the contest, 18% of Republicans are on the fence.
Palin’s approval rating is still terrible for a potential presidential candidate. Only 41% of those surveyed approve of her, while 50% disapprove. Palin had the lowest approval rating of any of the four candidates in the general election, and it seems that the negative perception of her among non-Republicans has stuck. Palin’s situation does present a striking parallel to Hillary Clinton in 2008. Clinton was popular with Democrats, but not with Republicans and Independents. Her approval rating was always split at about 50/50. Right now, 50/50 would represent an improvement for Palin.
Here is the big disclaimer. This is all hypothetical. The 2012 race, which will likely begin in 2011 for the GOP is still two years away. Who knows what voters will think of Obama by then? My guess is that the economy will have long since turned around by 2012, and if Obama passes healthcare, he will likely be able to cruise to reelection, no matter who he faces.
The poll does point out some real problems for Palin. She is still very polarizing, and disliked by non-Republicans. She has all the traits of a factional party candidate a.k.a. candidates with limited appeal within their own party and nationally. If the GOP is fragmented enough, she could win the nomination.
However at a time when the GOP needs a candidate that can appeal to non-Republicans, Palin would not be the best choice. It does seem though that the Republican Party is intent on driving itself into the ground, so it wouldn’t shock me if they nominated Palin, because they view her as a “real Republican” even if her nomination meant certain defeat to Obama.