Thursday, July 09, 2009

Sarah Palin's polarizing poll numbers

I saw this story on Countdown with Keith Olbermann last night, and I found it especially interesting. First, here is Olbermann's story about Alaska governor Sarah Palin's polarizing poll numbers:

And here is the USA Today source story for all this:

WASHINGTON — Sarah Palin's bombshell that she is resigning as Alaska governor actually has boosted her a bit among Republicans, a nationwide USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, though it also has dented her standing among Democrats and independents.

Two-thirds of Republicans want Palin, the party's vice presidential nominee in 2008, to be "a major national political figure" in the future. Three-fourths of Democrats hope she won't be.

Independents by 55%-34% would prefer she leave the national stage.

The findings underscore how polarized opinions of Palin were even before Friday's surprise announcement. Seven in 10 polled say their views weren't affected by her decision. Among those whose opinions shifted, Democrats by a 4-1 ratio and independents by 2-to-1 view her less favorably. Republicans are somewhat inclined to see her more favorably.

"For independents and Democrats, she's already not their candidate, and with Republicans her support is not based on her record as governor of Alaska," says GOP consultant Alex Castellanos.

The poll Monday of 1,000 adults — including 321 Democrats, 323 independents and 316 Republicans — has a margin of error of +/–3 percentage points for the full sample and 6 points for the partisan subsamples.

Palin's complaints about unfair treatment by the news media resonate with many respondents. Three-fourths of Republicans, more than half of independents and a third of Democrats say coverage of Palin has been unfairly negative.

When it comes to a potential presidential run, the USA TODAY Poll displays Palin's strength in the Republican base and weakness among swing voters, who traditionally decide national elections. Republicans by 71%-27% say they'd be likely to vote for her if she ran for president in 2012, while independents by 51%-44% would not.

The results are just fascinating. Two-thirds of Republicans want Sarah Palin to be a major political figure, while three-fourths of Democrats don't want Palin on the stage. Independents want Palin to leave the national stage by a 55%-34% majority. Sarah Palin is the darling of the conservative base here, but she stinks like a dead fish among Democrats and independents. Palin's inability to provide a reason why she resigned as Alaska's governor still implies that Sarah Palin is a quitter.

There is also another interesting polarizing poll number that I found on Palin. This is from Rasmussen Reports, with graphic via Daily Kos:

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is second only to Mitt Romney as the presidential candidate Republican voters say they’ll vote for in 2012 state GOP primaries, but she’s also one of two candidates they least hope wins the party’s nomination.

Graph showing Sarah Palin's contradictory polling stance among GOP voters. From Daily Kos.

In a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey, it’s close to a three-way tie when GOP voters are asked whom they would vote for – from among a list of six prominent Republicans - in the 2012 party primary in their state: 25% say Romney, while 24% say Palin and 22% opt for former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

After that, GOP primary voters list former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (14%), while Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty each received one percent (1%) of the vote. Six percent (6%) prefer some other candidate.

However, among those same six potential candidates, Palin and Barbour are tied as the ones GOP voters would least like to see win the party nomination in 2012. Twenty-one percent (21%) of Republican voters nationwide say that of both Palin and Barbour.


Forty percent (40%) of GOP voters nationally believe Palin has hurt her chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 by resigning as governor of Alaska. Twenty-four percent (24%) say the resignation helps her chances, and 28% say it will have no impact on the race.

Forty percent (40%) of GOP voters nationally believe Palin has hurt her chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 by resigning as governor of Alaska. That is the key reason for Palin's contradictory polling numbers in the Rasmussen poll numbers. While the GOP voters may love Sarah Palin, and select her in a hypothetical 2012 presidential race, these same GOP voters are also saying that they don't want Palin to win the GOP nomination in 2012. I think the GOP voters are fearful that, if Sarah Palin wins the 2012 GOP primary, she still will not be able to explain why she quit as Alaska's governor, allowing a huge opportunity for the Obama campaign to attack Palin. The USA Today / Gallup poll reveals some interesting insights among Democrats fears of Sarah Palin. The Democratic voters see Sarah Palin as a national political figure that can ignite, and excite, the conservative and Republican base. And she certainly can excite the Republican base, considering the crowds that came out to see her during last year's election. The Democratic voters do not want Sarah Palin to be a national political figure because she could end up challenging President Barack Obama in 2012, perhaps winning as the first female U.S. president.

What I'm trying to say here is that I think fear is gripping both sides of the political spectrum on Sarah Palin, bringing us these rather polarizing poll numbers. We don't know what is going to happen in 2012, or what Sarah Palin's political future, or presidential aspirations may be--only Sarah Palin knows that. Either way, Sarah Palin is here to stay.

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