Palin Faces Gloomy New Poll Numbers

Palin Faces Gloomy New Poll Numbers

By Scott Conroy - December 29, 2010

A new set of poll numbers released on Tuesday reinforced the daunting challenge that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin would face in turning the tide in her favor among both Republican primary and general election voters if she were to decide to run for president in 2012.

Perhaps the most discouraging new number as it relates to Palin's presidential ambitions was a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, which showed that 49 percent of Republicans said that they were now "very" or "somewhat likely" to support a Palin presidential bid.

At first glance, 49 percent may appear to be a promising slice of the GOP electorate, but it is down dramatically from the 67 percent of Republicans who said that they were likely to support a Palin run when they were asked in a previous CNN poll conducted in December of 2008.

Sixty-seven percent of Republicans in the new CNN poll said that they were somewhat or very likely to support former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2012, while 59 percent said the same of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

The CNN poll was conducted by telephone from December 17-19 and had a margin of error of plus or minus three percent.

Compounding those dour numbers for Palin was the release on Tuesday of a series of Democratically-affiliated Public Policy Polling (PPP) state surveys, which were conducted over the past couple of months. The PPP polls showed the former Alaska governor with low favorability ratings among voters in key battleground states.

In Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan, Palin's overall favorability rating ranged from 34 percent to 37 percent. Meanwhile, her unfavorable rating in those seven bellwether states ranged from 52 percent to 60 percent.

Palin demonstrated in the 2010 election her affinity for the underdog when she backed long-shot candidates from Joe Miller to Christine O'Donnell with mixed electoral success, and she has never been one to be dissuaded by discouraging polls.

Still, the numbers released on Tuesday provided a sober reminder of the lengths Palin would have to go to rehabilitate her image among many voters should she decide to launch a presidential campaign.

Palin and her staff have made a concerted effort to reach out beyond her core supporters in recent weeks, as the former Alaska governor has sat down for an increasing number of interviews with mainstream media outlets.

Palin has declined to provide a timeframe for when she will announce whether she will run for president, but it is widely expected that she will take her time in assessing the field of GOP contenders before deciding whether to jump in.


Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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