Rasmussen became the first major pollster to publish a national survey on the impact of Sarah Palin’s resignation on her standing with Republican voters. The news is not encouraging. A plurality of likely GOP voters in 2012 (40%) say that Palin hurt her standing as a candidate. On the positive side, 52% say it either helped or had no impact, and GOP voters still have great affection for Palin:
Forty percent (40%) of Republican voters nationwide say Sarah Palin’s decision to resign as governor of Alaska hurts her chances of winning the party’s presidential nomination in 2012.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of GOP voters finds that (24%) believe Palin’s resignation helps her chances of winning the Republican nomination, while 28% say it will have no impact on the race.
But that doesn’t mean Palin isn’t near the very top of the list when Republicans are asked what they think of her and whom they’d vote for in 2012 – as new data set for release at noon EDT today will show.
The crosstabs show this basic breakdown across almost all demographics. Younger voters under 29 years of age gave a plurality to her resignation improving her chances, while the next age demographic — thirtysomethings — were the least forgiving of the age categories, with 48% saying it hurt. Black GOP voters disapproved by a solid majority, 58%, to just 10% saying it boosted Palin. Moderate Republicans also had a majority disapproving, but interestingly, the plurality among professed conservative GOP voters also said it hurt (38%, to 24% helps).
For social categories, the polling was even more interesting. Women were slightly less forgiving than men and solidly less likely to think the resignation helped. GOP voters with children at home were also less likely to support Palin’s position: 41%-24% hurts to helps, versus 39%-25% for voters with no children. The numbers between married and unmarried voters are almost identical. Religious affiliations showed an interesting split: A slight plurality of evangelicals believe it helps (33%-29%), while Protestants (41%-24%), Catholics (46%-20%), and “other” (48%-13%) have much stronger disapproving pluralities. However, only among those “not sure” of their religious attendance did Palin win a plurality approval (29%-10%).
From the numbers, it appears that Palin only boosted her standing among evangelicals and young voters with this move. To be fair, Palin didn’t do this to improve her standing, but to resolve other issues. However, the impact of the decision has been negative in the demographics within the GOP where she needed to improve, and probably did more damage outside the GOP, which Rasmussen has yet to measure. That will be a problem for any future runs at national office, but not an issue at all for her standing as an activist, if she chooses to remain in that role in the near- to mid-term.
On the plus side, though, Palin retains high favorability ratings within the party, 76%-21%. Only Mike Huckabee has higher numbers (78%), although MItt Romney also does well (73%), showing both positioned for another charge at the GOP nomination in 2012. Newt Gingrich hits 65%. Neither Haley Barbour nor Tim Pawlenty break the 50% barrier, with 28% of people unsure about both. Even if they see the resignation as politically damaging, Sarah Palin remains one of the favorites in the party.