Green Room

Flash – Palin Damaged Among Anti-Palin Republicans!

posted at 6:25 pm on July 8, 2009 by

In a shocking turn of events, a Rasmussen poll finds that among the group of Republicans least likely to vote for Sarah Palin under any circumstances, a plurality believes she hurt her chances by resigning as governor of Alaska. Even more stunningly, among those GOPs most likely to vote for her before the move, she is least damaged.

You could knock me over with a sledge hammer:

Conservative Republicans are the least fazed by Palin’s decision to resign. Just 37% think she’s hurt her chances of winning the nomination, compared to 52% of moderate Republicans.

GOP voters who are Evangelical Christians are fairly evenly divided but a narrow plurality say Palin’s resignation helps her political chances more than hurts them. But the plurality of other Protestants (41%) and Catholics (46%) disagree, seeing the governor’s move as hurtful politically.

In general, the higher a Republican voter’s income level and educational achievement, the more likely he or she is to think Palin’s decision to resign will hurt her bid for the GOP nomination.

Sadly, Rasmussen didn’t break it down by whether a respondent previously supported Palin — did the move actually change any minds at all? The best we can do is note that the more elite a Republican is, the greater the chance that he never supported the anti-elite “Caribou Barbie” in the first place; and the more conservative a Republican is, the more likely he was to support Palin — before and after the resignation.

A Gallup poll found much the same non-effect: Those least likely ever to vote for Palin, especially Democrats, are the ones most likely to say her resignation made them less likely. (What, less than zero?)

My read on these polls is that it’s relentlessly obvious and quotidian: If you don’t like somebody in the first place, you’re probably irritated by everything she does, including how she brushes her teeth. But if you like her, you seek benign explanations for every action, no matter how bizarre it would otherwise be — if done by somebody you dislike.

The conclusion I draw is: Sarah Palin’s resignation has not hurt her one bit. By the time she runs for either (a) the presidency in 2012 (which I have always thought highly unlikely) or (b) the U.S. Senate against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK, 58%*) in 2010 (which makes much more sense to me; but I reiterate) — the fact that she resigned from the governorship in 2009 will be meaningless, except as a “shibboleth” to distinguish supporters from detractors.

* For the benefit of the new readers brought in by Hot Air — both of you — the percent given for sitting members of Congress is, roughly speaking, their “ideology index,” how closely they track the prevailing ideology of their parties: the ACLU’s “liberalness” score for Democrats, and the American Conservative Union’s “conservativeness” score for Republicans. So a Republican with a 90% rating is much more conservative than one with a 58%, while a Democrat with a 100% is much more liberal than one with a 72%.

By the same coin, the resignation has not helped Palin win supporters; but it has freed her up to run hard against Murkowski in the primaries, should she wish… something she really couldn’t do as the sitting governor, as that would be unseemly.

Given the immediate-impression response, I believe the pros far outweigh the cons for Palin making the move she did: Elite and moderate Republicans, and of course Democrats, have yet another reason to dislike her; but they were always going to be her biggest problem anyway, and there is no real change. She hasn’t lost her conserative base.

But she will be free to travel all around the country giving speeches, fundraising for other Republicans, maybe even doing a television or radio show; and of course, free to run hard against RINO Lisa Murkowski, the only (politically) surviving member of the Alaska old-boy troika.

When Lisa’s father Frank Murkowski resigned his Senate seat after being elected governor, one of his first official acts was to appoint his daughter to the Senate seat he had just abandoned. Besides the Murkowskis, the third member of the troika was “Senator for life” Ted Stevens; but he lost his Senate seat the election following his conviction — after prosecutorial misconduct — in a corruption trial. (Which doesn’t make him innocent, just not proven guilty; not being an organ of the American judicial system, I am not obliged to consider everyone “innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.” Bill Ayers and O.J. Simpson spring to mind.)

If Sarah Palin sees one of her life missions as ridding Alaska of the last vestige of that circle of sump and porkinstance, it would be extremely tempting to run against Lisa Murkowski… who was barely reelected in 2004, the one time she actually ran for the United States Senate. As I wrote in the previous lizardian post linked above:

Even with the pull of Stevens and Murkowski, then the most powerful pols in Alaska, [Lisa Murkowski] barely squeaked out a minority victory over former Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles, 48.62 to 45.51. Had 4,800 votes gone the other way, she would have been defeated without ever having been elected to that seat. This does not inspire confidence that she can pull it off again next year, even against the same candidate.

So (fingers crossed, as I’m very much a Palinista) the resignation does not so far appear to have hurt her among her core constituents; and I suspect that when it comes down to it, even most Republicans who are put off by Palin will vote for her against almost any Democrat. In Alaska, that means that if she knocks off Murkowski in the primary, I think she will win the general… probably with a greater victory margin that Murkowski would, assuming she even could.

And if I’m wrong, and Palin does run for president in 2012 — perhaps she’ll end up in the VP slot again; but this time on a ticket that is much more likely to win, since it isn’t 2008 — and the eventual nominee won’t be that “lovable conservative,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ, 63%).

Cross-posted on Big Lizards

Recently in the Green Room:



Trackback URL


The best we can do is note that the more elite a Republican is, the greater the chance that he never supported the anti-elite “Caribou Barbie” in the first place; and the more conservative a Republican is, the more likely he was to support Palin — before and after the resignation.

Well, I guess we couldn’t get through a Palin Post without throwing around the word “elite,” and noting the 1-1 correlation between the level of conservatism an individual has and their affirmative support of Palin…

Upstater85 on July 8, 2009 at 6:35 PM

Let Sarah be Sarah. I hope she makes “our” views clearly known, through speaking engagements or even a talk show. When the RINOs start tripping over each other in the run-up to 2012, the rank and file will beg her to save the party.

1921 C DRUM on July 8, 2009 at 7:53 PM

If I had all the money ever spent on research to discover self-evident conclusions, I’d be — well, I’d be very wealthy.

Daggett on July 8, 2009 at 7:53 PM

Just give her a minute to catch her breath. She’s fishing which is always a good way to work out your frustrations. You can take it out on the fish and the hubby if he gets too close. Better not offer any advise anytime soon Todd. She’s got a plan and it looks like Texas is first up.

Kissmygrits on July 8, 2009 at 8:12 PM

Daggett on July 8, 2009 at 7:53 PM

Yes, once unpacked, this kind of study always ends up published in the “book of Duh!” as my kids used to call it.

“Where’d you learn that – in the book of Duh?”

massrighty on July 8, 2009 at 8:42 PM

Can’t figure out why so many smart people, sympathizers, want to condemn poor Mrs. Palin to a Senate seat. One of the odder offbeat political matriculations for her was the idea that she could run for Alaska’s single House seat, but that makes little sense to me either.

This move was all about the fierce nowness of urgency. She can help the Rs make the most of the mid-term counter-wave, and by the second week of November 2010, we’ll have a much better sense of the lay of the land. Lots of very good and very bad, totally unanticipated things can happen between now and 2012. It could be an incumbent shoo-in. I doubt it, but it’s within the realm of possibility, especially if we, and especially President Barack Obama, are luckier than we probably deserve to be. Alternatively, it could be a conservative revolutionary election a la 1980, or some combination of 1994 and 1980, or something even more splendiferously interesting or ugly. If so, then who’s more splendiferously interesting and non-ugly than Mrs. Palin? Putting her in the Senate would be like keeping Kobe Bryant in the Developmental League when there’s a champeenship to be won.

CK MacLeod on July 8, 2009 at 9:01 PM

I don’t understand and don’t agree with all these analysis and talk about Gov. Palin’s Senate or presidential run. Please wait and see after July 27, 2009.

atemely on July 8, 2009 at 9:32 PM


IMO, “Palin for Senate” makes some sense because it could put her on a national stage where the media types would have less ability to define her image.

“Could” is the operative word – for it to work for her, the Senate Republican Leadership would have to be willing to put her in ‘high visibility’ situations. Or, given the jealousies & lack of cohesion in that group, they could try to bury her in obscure / unimportant work.

Whatever is next, if she’s interested in anything bigger than “U.S. Senator from Alaska,” she has to find a way to do more than just hold her base.

IMO, her basic instincts are sound (and that’s a good 80% of the equation).

BD57 on July 9, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Personally I doubt if she will choose to run for Senate. I suspect she will work on her book which will make her a lot of money, and go on the attack against the Big Zero’s policies and programs.

She will be the top money raiser available for any candidate who is smart enough to ask for her help. Looks like Rick Perry will be first in line. This will bring in IOU’s and give her a chance to hammer the opposition. She’s in a good spot. The media can’t ignore her because she’s way too hot and I don’t think that will change. As far as I can see it’s Look Out Left There’s a ‘Cuda Comin Yer Way, I Betcha.

That interview she just did with in the fishing boat with no teleprompter in sight was gold. Everyone who I have spoken to that saw it had to tell me how “real” she was, just like them, etc. Average people can tell the difference between a big phony like the one in the White House reading what he’s been told to on his teleprompter and the one with the waders in the fishing boat talking while she’s working. Dem’s eat yer heart out.

shmendrick on July 9, 2009 at 11:23 AM

Mike Murphy from the McCain campaign is at it again.

Americannodash on July 9, 2009 at 11:55 AM

Go Sarah!

matthew26 on July 9, 2009 at 1:44 PM

Sarah Palin has become a sort of political projective test, especially for the pundit class and others. On a projective test there are no correct answers, the subject (the test taker) reveals their inner thinking by how the they react to the stimulus, in this case Sarah. The results are amazing. Many, like myself, listen to her speak and think, “Yeah, that all makes perfect sense.” Then there are those, on both sides of the aisle, who just don’t get it and describe her statements as “rambling, incoherant, etc.” because they’re not intellectually facile enough to cope with someone out of the ordinary. Many react as if they never actually heard/read what she said but instead just ignored her statements and said whatever they thought the conventional wisdom ought to be. They really weren’t listening, just spouting (projecting) their predjudicial opinions. This says everything about the commentator and nothing about Sarah. I guess a lot of people are on intellectual autopilot and avoid having to actually think.

shmendrick on July 9, 2009 at 2:54 PM

Mike Murphy from the McCain campaign is at it again.

Americannodash on July 9, 2009 at 11:55 AM

“Murphy is a writer and Republican political consultant who has advised John McCain, Mitt Romney, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jeb Bush.”


the_nile on July 9, 2009 at 3:52 PM

I was wondering who Murphy was. AP has posted it on his twitter page because, well, you know.

Blake on July 9, 2009 at 8:44 PM

Mike Murphy from the McCain campaign is at it again.
Americannodash on July 9, 2009 at 11:55 AM

Mike Murphy is an idiot.

Unfortunately for McCain Palin, the actual swing voters, the independents who do should determine the winner of the election, didn’t buy into this fantasy at all. After a three-week sniff, most couldn’t run away from Palin McCain fast enough.

Susanboo on July 11, 2009 at 12:12 AM