Pennsylvania: Palin 24, Gingrich 23, Huckabee 20

That’s actually not the most intriguing data point from this poll, but I know the Palinistas will whine forever if I don’t highlight the fact that she’s leading somewhere, so there you go. Don’t get me wrong: It is interesting that she’d do well in a northeastern state, which traditionally aren’t thought of as “Palin country.” But of course these are primary voters we’re talking about, and Pennsylvania Republicans are sufficiently red-meat that Specter abandoned ship before having to face them in a primary. No shocker, really, that a “true conservative” would fare well with them.

So what’s the intriguing data, if not this? Well, this is actually a poll of two states by PPP — Pennsylvania and Texas — and not only is Gingrich suddenly doing surprisingly well, but Romney has slipped all the way back into fourth place. I’m not sure why that would be true now rather than three months ago after ObamaCare passed, when conservative antipathy to the man responsible for RomneyCare was at a fever pitch. Maybe it’s a simple case of Gingrich keeping a high profile lately and Romney keeping a low one? Regardless, Newt pulls 25 percent in Texas (good for the lead, believe it or not) and 23 percent in Pennsylvania. Reversal of fortune:

-Newt Gingrich increasingly looks like a very legitimate candidate should he decide to run for President in 2012. He’s showing strong support across the country- he’s led in California, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Texas and finished just behind in Illinois and Pennsylvania in recent polls. Gingrich may benefit from having less of a ‘loser’ stench to him than the other contenders- Huckabee, Palin, Romney, and Paul were all involved in losing campaigns in 2008 and Gingrich is a reminder of the time when Republicans were in charge.

-Mitt Romney is really slipping in these polls. He had the lead in both Pennsylvania and Texas the last time we polled those states but has fallen now to 4th in both. It’s a sign of how fleeting ‘frontrunner’ status can be this early in the game- it’s really not worth much because voters aren’t tuned in enough for it to be particularly meaningful or sustainable.

All right, one more piece of candy for Palin supporters. What do these two data sets have in common? The first is from Pennsylvania, the second from Texas:

Amazingly, in both crosstabs, Palin’s either tied for the lead or clearly ahead among liberal Republicans. I have no explanation for that, especially the 10-point advantage in Pennsylvania. The only thing I can think of is that the sample size of that group might be extraordinarily small. Note that the results in Pennsylvania are split perfectly evenly in 10-point chunks. Did they sample 10 liberal Republicans, with Palin the choice of three of them? Not sure.

Exit question via Mediaite: Is this man our next president?