Oh my: Palin within five of Obama in new Marist poll

The Palin fans on Twitter were nudging me to post this before I’d even seen it. Now I understand why. Might be the best poll she’s had since the ’08 election.

After trailing Obama by more than 20 percentage points in polls all year, the new national survey, taken Sept. 13-14, found Palin trailing the president by just 5 points, 49-44 percent. The key reason: She now leads Obama among independents, a sharp turnaround…

By a margin of 49 percent to 36 percent, voters said they definitely plan to vote against Obama, according to the poll. Independents by 53 percent to 28 percent said they definitely plan to vote against him…

Obama is neck and neck with Romney, leading by 46-44. Obama had led by 5 points in August, 4 points in June, and 1 point in April. Romney now leads among independents, 44 percent to 40 percent.

Obama leads Perry by 50 percent to 41 percent. They split independents 43-43. Obama had led Perry by 19 points in August, as Perry was joining the campaign.

Some of what’s going on here, obviously, is utter public exhaustion with Hopenchange and Obamanomics. If I were David Plouffe, that 49/36 split on voters who say they’ll definitely vote against The One would make me wet myself. But some of it’s specific to Palin too: Look no further than the fact that she now fares better against Obama than Perry does — and actually leads him among independents. That’s an astounding turnaround given the trend in her polling over the past three years and a huge boost for Palinistas vis-a-vis questions about her electability. That said, I’m not sure how to square this with other recent polls showing grimmer numbers for her. When Rasmussen polled her head to head against Obama at the start of the month, he found her trailing by 12 points among likely voters. That was a bigger margin than Romney, Perry, Paul, Cain and even Jon Huntsman faced. And the new NYT/CBS poll published last Friday showing brutal new numbers for Obama also found Palin’s favorables at an all-time low — 20/62, with even a plurality of Republicans saying they view her unfavorably (39 percent, compared to 36 who view her favorably).

Exit question: What explains the sudden surge? Did her attack on crony capitalism in her Indianola speech strike a chord with independents? Or is her amazing name recognition helping her here? The more disgusted the public is with O, the more open they are to voting on “Anybody But Obama” grounds, and thus the more it stands to reason that they’d react favorably to a Republican alternative whom they’re already very familiar with.