According to the new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released tonight, the Republican Party might be in for an even bumpier 2012 than they could have imagined, as they are faced with choosing from a slate of very unpopular candidates. Sarah Palin had both the highest favorable and unfavorable ratings at 30% and 48% respectively.
In a sign of just how sour the electorate’s mood has become, only former president Bill Clinton posted a favorable rating above 50% in the NBC News/WSJ poll. The terrible economy has rehabilitated Clinton’s image as he now has a 55% favorable rating, and only a 23% unfavorable rating. The next most popular figure is current president Barack Obama who has a 47% favorable rating and a 41% unfavorable rating. Clearly, the employment situation is hurting Obama’s numbers.
The Democratic situation looks flat out rosy compared to the dire straights that the Republican Party is facing. Possible future Speaker of the House John Boeher has 14% favorable rating and a 17% unfavorable rating. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is lugging around a 12% favorable rating and an 18% unfavorable rating. While most people don’t know much about the members of Congress, the situation is even more dire when four of the top GOP contenders are examined.
Potential contender for the GOP nomination Mike Huckabee has a 26% favorable rating and a 25%unfavorable rating. Huckabee is the only Republican whose favorable is higher than his unfavorable. Mitt Romney has 21% favorable and a 30% unfavorable. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has 24% favorable and a 35% unfavorable, but the crown jewel of Republican distaste is Sarah Palin, who has the highest GOP favorable number, 30%, and also the highest unfavorable GOP number, 48%.
Palin’s alignment with the Tea Party does not seem to have benefited either side, as her favorable numbers remain mired in the twenties and thirties, and the Tea Party can’t seem to break the 30% threshold which they are at now and have been at for months. If anything, Sarah Palin’s “leadership” may have caused support for the Tea Party to flat line among non-Republicans. Other recent polls revealed that Palin has a 17% approval rating with 2010 swing voters, and even though she is the most popular Republican, a potential Palin nomination would likely doom the GOP in 2012.
What does all this mean? Well, there is nothing like a bad economy to rebuild the image of a former President. People forget that Bill Clinton was so tarnished by 2000 that then Vice President Al Gore not only ran away from his boss, but also refused to utilize Clinton on the campaign, which was likely the one tactical blunder in a Democratic campaign full of them that cost Gore the White House. I contend that if Gore would have utilized Clinton there would have been no Florida issue.
In terms of the future, the Republicans are facing a huge Sarah problem. Sarah Palin is the most popular Republican within the party, but she is also the most hated Republican in the country. If nominated, she has virtually no chance of beating Obama, but she is also the only potential nominee that might get the GOP base excited.
Since the arrival of the Tea Party, the GOP has shown that they will happily lose elections in exchange for self gratification. Republican voters may decide to nominate Palin, just because it feels good, even though she is a polarizing dead end candidate who when combined with Obama’s coattails would probably wipe any gains that the GOP makes in 2010. Republicans are engaged in a drunken orgy of ideology, and though the haze of their common sense conservative goggles, Sarah Palin might look pretty good, but their reckless hook up will almost certainly lead to America extending their long term commitment with Barack Obama.