Not the first poll to show that her book tour’s helping her recover. The good news: She’s dug herself out of the hole she fell into after she resigned as governor. The bad news: Even now, swimming in buzz about what a monster success the book is, she’s only back to net zero. The keep-it-in-perspective news: Mr. Wonderful’s own favorables may be healthy but his job approval is not. Quite simply, there aren’t any overwhelmingly popular politicians on either side of the aisle these days. (Except, maybe, Colin Powell?)

Eight out of ten Republicans questioned the survey have a favorable opinion of Palin, with more than seven in ten Democrats view her unfavorably. Independents are evenly divided on Palin. According to the poll, 51 percent of men see her in a positive light, with an nearly equal amount of women view Palin in a negative way.

“The gender gap on Palin is not simply a function of the fact that women tend to identify with the Democratic party more than men do,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Even within GOP circles, Republican men like Palin more than Republican women do. John McCain put Palin on his ticket in 2008 to appeal to female voters, but it looks like men are a natural constituency for her.”…

“Palin is still not as popular Al Gore and remains more unpopular than Joe Biden, but her favorable rating is much higher than Dick Cheney’s,” adds Holland.

She’s never going to come down below 40 percent unfavorable, I think, given the left’s mania about her, so 55/45 or a few points higher is realistically her target. Favorables aren’t the problem metric anyway in her case; this is, and I’ll be curious to see if that number’s changed by the time the book tour ends. On a related note, am I right in thinking that the last nominee from either party who held no elected office when he was nominated was Reagan in 1980? Those are nice footsteps to follow in, but given the reservations about her qualifications, it’ll be a tough pattern for Palin to break.

Like the man says, though: “You can’t not talk about her.”

Update: Nope, I’m wrong. Mondale held no office in 1984, I believe, although he had of course been VP under Carter.