The hatred of Mrs Palin by the east and west coast elites – to whom her very accent is an affront – is not shared by most American voters. But polling shows that the former vice-presidential candidate has some serious problems on her hands if she is to pursue her presumed ambition of winning the presidency in 2012.

A recent Gallup survey found that 63 percent of voters would not seriously consider her for the presidency next time around. She remains very popular among Republicans but among independents – who will decide the next election – her favourability rating is just 41 percent.

This is not snooty elitism – it’s based on the perception that Mrs Palin’s track record is thin and that while she has real star quality her political prescriptions are vague. Sound familiar? That may have worked for Barack Obama in 2008 but Americans are likely to want much more substance next time around.

On the pre-released tapes on Oprah, however, Mrs Palin performed superbly – relaxed, unpretentious and funny. She even joked good-naturedly about having Levi over for Thanksgiving dinner.