by John Hawkins | June 24, 2009 1:01 pm
I’ve been saying all along that barring some sort of unforeseen mishap, if Sarah Palin decides to run in 2012, she will start out as the favorite to take the nomination.
There are two reasons for that.
First off, as I have been saying for quite a while, she has a very strong, enthusiastic base of support in the Republican Party. No other candidate running will be able to come close to matching her on that front right out of the gate.
Secondly, the media may have hurt her, but they haven’t come close to fatally damaging her and the worse Obama does, the better she’s going to look in comparison.
The latest numbers from the The Pew Research Center confirm exactly those two points.
First off, take a look at the favorability of leading Republicans,
Palin has the highest favorability of anyone on the list. Granted, there are some other potential contenders (Huckabee’s name probably should have been polled), but the numbers on people like Tim Pawlenty and Mark Sanford would be meaningless at this point because they have such low name recognition nationally.
I’d also note that Palin’s favorables have gone up 3 points and her unfavorables have dropped 4 since the last measurement. Again, barring some sort of unforeseen mishap, those trends are likely to continue. At a minimum, her negatives are likely to continue to drop.
Speaking of her negatives, Palin’s are very high, at 44%, but that’s just a consequence of her being such a high profile target of the Left. Anybody who runs for President is going to be under constant attack from the Democrats, the media, and Hollywood — and that’s going to drive their negatives way up. Additionally, the last cycle was a horrible time to run a national campaign as a Republican. It’s no coincidence that Mitt Romney’s negatives were at 44% back in October, when he was more in the public eye.
Now amongst Republicans, you’ll see that Palin’s numbers look even better.
Having a 16 point advantage with primary voters over the man who would probably be your toughest competitor is no small thing. Moreover, those numbers don’t really tell the whole tale because they don’t capture enthusiasm. Rabid Sarah Palin fans are a dime a dozen, but rabid Mitt Romney fans? They exist, but they’re much fewer and farther inbetween.
What this adds up to is that Sarah Palin is in a very strong position for 2012 and would, at least for the moment, still have to be considered the candidate to beat for the Republican nomination.
PS: Just to be clear, although I like Sarah Palin quite a bit, I’m not necessarily going to support her in 2012. I’m going to keep an open mind, see who ends up running, and make a decision when the time’s right. If Sarah Palin gets in, she might be the candidate I support — and she might not.
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