To recycle an old joke much beloved by longtime HA readers: You know who this poll benefits? Mitt Romney.
More than half of Americans, 52%, now view Sarah Palin unfavorably, the highest percentage holding a negative opinion of the former Alaska governor in Gallup polling since Sen. John McCain tapped her as the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee. Her 40% favorable rating ties her lowest favorable score, recorded just over a year ago…
Palin’s image has consistently tilted negative since July 2009, and was nearly as negative in October 2009 as it is today. Public views on her were also more negative than positive just before the 2008 election, in which President Obama handily defeated the Republican ticket. By contrast, Americans’ initial reactions to Palin after her debut at the Republican National Convention that year were mostly favorable.
Follow the link above and you’ll see that the last time her favorables were net positive was January 2009. But wait, you say, didn’t we see an AP poll just days ago showing her favorable numbers the highest they’ve been in almost a year (not to mention yesterday’s PPP poll showing her leading the GOP field in several states)? Indeed we did, and I’m at a loss to explain the discrepancy. The AP polled 1,000 adults nationwide from Nov. 3 to Nov. 8 and got a 46/49 split; Gallup polled 1,021 adults nationwide from Nov. 4 to Nov. 7 and came up with 40/52. Your guess for what accounts for the difference is as good as mine. In fact, I can give you an argument for why each poll might be an outlier. If you look at HuffPo’s table of recent polling on her, the 40/52 number is more in line with polls taken last month (including one by Fox) than the AP’s rosier 46/49 split. On the other hand, I find this graph from Gallup exceedingly hard to believe:
So somehow, just three months before an election in which the GOP would end up utterly destroying Democrats among independents, the favorable rating of one of its most prominent figures just drops off a cliff among those same indies? Does that make any sense at all? It’s especially odd if you read the full Gallup article and see that the tea party’s numbers are steady over time. If Palin’s downturn was the byproduct of independents souring on fringier candidates like Angle and O’Donnell, that downturn should theoretically also appear in the ratings for the movement overall. It doesn’t. So what gives?
The good news is that her new TLC show produce some sort of bounce in the next poll. The bad news is that it’s now been almost two full years since her favorables were above the water line. Not the banner you want to carry into primary season when lots of GOP voters will be thinking of electability. Exit quotation from a certain senatorial princess who shall remain nameless: “I know what my Alaska looks like.”