November 16th, 2009
05:57 PM ET
4 years ago

CNN Poll: Most Americans say Palin not qualified to serve as president

CNN Poll: Most Americans say Palin not qualified to serve as President.
CNN Poll: Most Americans say Palin not qualified to serve as President.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Fewer than three in 10 Americans think Sarah Palin's qualified to be president, according to a new national poll - the least of any of the five potential candidates included in the survey.

But another woman tops that list in the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday: two-thirds of the public thinks that Secretary of State HIllary Clinton's qualified for the Oval Office. That's more than Vice President Joe Biden, who's currently next in line for the presidency.

According to the poll, 28 percent of Americans say Palin is qualified to run the White House, with seven in 10 saying the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee is not qualified.

The survey indicates that a majority of Republicans, 54 percent, feel Palin is qualified, with 44 percent indicating she isn't. But only 29 percent of independent voters questioned feel she is qualified to serve as president, with 68 percent disagreeing. According to the poll, nine in 10 Democrats feel Palin is not qualified.


The poll's release comes one day before the release of Palin's book, "Going Rogue: An American Life."

"The perception that Palin is not qualified to be president puts her significantly behind two potential rivals for the GOP nomination in 2012 - Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

According to the survey, nearly half of all Americans think Romney is qualified to be president, with 43 percent feeling the same way about Huckabee. Among Republicans, Palin is still lagging other potential 2012 primary candidates: 63 percent of GOPers think that Romney and Huckabee are qualified, 9 points higher than the number that say the same of Palin.

"Palin has many strengths - recent CNN polls indicate that Americans believe that she is not a typical politician, that she cares about average Americans, and that she is honest and trustworthy," says Holland. "But the perception that she is not qualified for the White House is her biggest Achilles heel."

An ABC News/Washington Post poll also released Monday indicates that 38 percent of Americans say Palin's qualified to serve as president, with six in 10 saying she's not qualified.

The CNN survey indicates that 67 percent of people questioned say that Clinton is qualified to serve in the Oval Office, 17 points higher than the 50 percent of Americans who think that Biden's qualified to take over as president.

Biden's low number may be attributable to negative feelings about the Obama/Biden administration rather than views of Biden personally.

"In the past, poll respondents who dislike an administration have sometimes taken it out on the vice president," say Holland. Polls from the late 1990s showed that Americans felt Al Gore was qualified to be president, but only if respondents were given the chance to say something negative about Gore that was unrelated to his qualifications, he adds. In the Bush administration, the number who thought Dick Cheney was qualified to be president dropped as the administration grew more unpopular. "Cheney's experience in office didn't change during that period - attitudes toward the Bush/Cheney administration did," he says.

Hillary Clinton also has the advantage of having been able to stay out of domestic policy debates, including health care, the economic stimulus, and other controversial matters, while adding almost daily to her experience in foreign policy, Holland adds, while Biden has been involved in the domestic policy disputes - "which might explain why some respondents were looking for a reason to say something negative about the veep."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted November 13-15, with 1,014 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall sample.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: CNN Polls • Sarah Palin
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. Catherine

    Hmmmm........I wonder where this polling took place. Couldn't have been in fly-over country. You know fly-over? That place where the majority of consistent voters live. Tipped your liberal Socialist hand on this one CNN.

    November 16, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    Okay.
    How much is Palin paying CNN to keep her in the news?
    We demand to know now!

    November 16, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  3. Lucia Colon

    Sarah Palin will never become president. The sane majority in this country that elected President Obama (and the Republican minority that still had the presence of mind to release that Palin is a completely whacked out moron) will never allow her election.

    November 16, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  4. SAVVY OLDTIMER

    Time to get professional medical help for the 28%,... wonder if they have health coverage?

    November 16, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. LoLo

    leave this woman out of the news and maybe she will go away. As far as the democrats bashing her, you GOPers have a lot of nerve. Your own party was bashing this woman. Just suck it up and admit that Palin is not qualified to run the US of A. Because she was governor of a state does not mean that she is qualified. She hoodwinked the people of Alaska into voting for her with all of those false promoses. Just grow up and think for yourselves. You do not need any party democrat or repulican telling you how to vote. My 9 year old grandaughter can do a lot better than Palin. She is a hypocrite through and through. Everyone keeps talking about Obama, especially the GOP , but at least he understands what is being said to him and can articulate what he is saying. We do not need a lab rat for president. Let this woman just fade away.

    November 16, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. revolution

    Palin is as qualified to be President as Obama is, and we see how that is working out. God help this country survive his term, a walking disaster.
    TAX SPEND CONTROL the Obama way.

    November 16, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  7. Brad

    She is not qualified, pointe finale! It sickens me to think of her at the helm of the greatest country on earth. We would be the laughing stock of the rest of the world.

    November 16, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  8. Jacque Bauer

    Sarah's got them right where she wants them. The neysayers and political saboteurs were saying the same thing about Reagan at this stage.

    November 16, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  9. Thomas

    It's funny, Palin runs a state government and Obama decides as a freshman senator to run for president.

    This is Obama's qualification to be president? Having never run a business and lacking government experience, a poor attendance and voting record shows how stupid america is.

    We witnessed this last election. The one thing is out in the open, democrats hate women politicians. They turned on Hillary who was the front runner, they showed their fear of Palin and the womens rights movement was pushed back a century because NOW was asleep defending women (Palin). It's ok to defame, descriminate and harrass a woman who is not liberal, NOW only defends liberals....

    November 16, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  10. jon

    I don't need poll numbers to see that she is not ready its much to easy to see that she aint.

    November 16, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  11. Ann

    Everybody knows:
    1. Democrats were stupid to not nominate Hillary
    2. McCain made a mistake bringing Palin so early on the national stage
    3. Hillary can be President (and I hope she will be in 2012), Palin is not presidential material

    No news here.

    November 16, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  12. geescard

    Sarah is vastly more qualified to be president. than Barry Sortaro. Sarah is not a liar, not a Marxist, not a racist, not arrogant, not an elitist. She does not surround herself with rapist, Marxist, Maoists, child molesters, etc. CNN has a real problem.

    November 16, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. JamesJ

    ..but a community organizer is qualified. BWAHAHAHAHA
    Liberals are abject cowards

    November 16, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. Lois A.

    It's scary that it would even be a question.

    November 16, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. the dude

    She is just as quilified as the knucklehead that is there now.

    November 16, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. Repub_in_Rehab

    I get it now!

    CNN is actually supporting Palin and is doing everything in it's power to get her elected. Why else would there be numerous daily articles about this dim bulb? No such thing as bad publicity is there?

    And CNN has become Palin 2012 Headquarters.

    November 16, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  17. Nate

    This is a CNN poll...does anyone really think that this represents an objective cross-section of America? CNN polls are not reliable for the same reason Fox News polls are not reliable. While they represent an accurate cross-section of the people that use that source of information, people tend to gravitate towards news outlets that favor their political viewpoint.

    November 16, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. Clark W Griswold

    Well, if she does get elected President, and the job gets too tough, she can always just quit. I hope the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate is better vetted this time!

    November 16, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. www.firedoglake.com

    Your own CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released today shows that only 28 percent of Americans say Palin is qualified to run the White House.

    Shouldn't this not-at-all-surprising news be telling you that it's time to move all these useless stories about Palin to the Entertainment page, where they belong?

    November 16, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    So, what does that mean?
    SOME of America still can't handle the truth?
    Sarah Palin is inarticulate, uninformed, improperly educated, not thoroughly attached to reality or the truth.
    By all means, PLEASE run her in 2012, but KNOW, that in doing so, you will have doomed your party to failure, unless we run Michael Vick or someone like that.

    November 16, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. NoKidding

    Stating the obvious and OLD news. Next subject PLEASE!!!

    November 16, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. Ndubueze Chuku

    Is this a surprise? She is NOT QUALIFIED. Those that say she is qualified are blinded by t heir adoration of her; for whatever reason that is. Anyway, that is the bitter truth. US will make the gravest mistake of their history, if they elect her as president. You think George W. Bush was bad, what until Sarah Palin becomes president? Well, that will never happen. May God bless the USA.

    November 16, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. Tanya

    I don't see why you are doing these polls on her. This is stupid. She has not said she is going to even run.

    November 16, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  24. Janet

    Sarah Palin is barely qualified to hold office in the PTA, let alone in real politics. I thought we already established this, CNN.

    November 16, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12