PPP poll: Palin's favorability higher among Republicans than Romney's or Santorum's

Granted, her ratings have always been solid among Republicans. And granted, comparing the favorability of someone who isn’t running to the favorability of two candidates who have been tearing each other’s throats out every day for months is apples and oranges. Even so, Ian Lazaran at Conservatives4Palin makes a fair point: As a Not Romney with appeal to evangelical and non-evangelical conservatives alike, she probably could have given Mitt more of a run for his money than Santorum has.

Sarah Palin is now once again better liked than any of the actual candidates. 68% see her favorably and only 20% unfavorably.

“The fact that Sarah Palin is now more popular than any of the Republican Presidential candidates is a real sign of the toll the campaign has taken on all of the contenders’ images,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “Meanwhile Rick Santorum is struggling and would really need a major change in the race — like Newt Gingrich dropping out — to reverse his fortunes.”

Santorum’s favorables split at a healthy 59/30, but among evangelicals it’s 73/16 versus just 46/43 among non-evangelicals. Palin’s numbers for comparison:

She also tops Santorum among tea partiers and non-tea partiers alike, although their numbers among the latter group are close enough that I assume the Romney Death Star could have blasted hers down to a comparable level with sustained attacks. For Santorum, the split is 74/18 among TPers, 50/41 among non-TPers, and 54/20 among those who aren’t sure. Palin:

Here’s the one data set I can’t explain, though. “Very” and “somewhat conservative” make sense, but what’s up with liberal Republicans? I thought the David Frum wing of the party loathes Palin:

A higher favorable rating among “very liberal” GOPers than “somewhat conservative” ones? Either the sample of liberal Republicans is very small, which means a very high margin of error, or else she’s rebounded somehow with more left-ish members of the party. Any theories on what’s driving that?

Needless to say, the big caveat to the “what might have been” hypothetical in which Palin runs and does better against Romney than Santorum has is that a more effective centrist than Romney could have run also and possibly locked up the nomination no matter who was running to his/her right. Maybe we’ll do a few posts on various hypotheticals this summer — A vs. B, C vs. D — to cheer you up when Romney finally locks things up and the laments begin. Exit question: Does Steve Schmidt opine on any subject anymore except vetting procedures for Republican VP candidates? Good lord, man. Pull yourself together.

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