April 13th, 2010
09:31 PM ET
5 years ago

CNN Poll: Who wins an Obama vs. Palin matchup?

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that President Barack Obama would top the former Alaska governor by double digits in a possible 2012 general election showdown.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that President Barack Obama would top the former Alaska governor by double digits in a possible 2012 general election showdown.

Washington (CNN) - She may be the best known Republican politician considering a bid for the White House, but Sarah Palin comes in third in a hypothetical horserace for the next GOP presidential nomination, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday also indicates that President Barack Obama would top the former Alaska governor by double digits in a possible 2012 general election showdown.

Full results (pdf)

The survey found that 24 percent of Republicans and Republican leaning Independents say they would most likely support Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate, in the battle for the 2012 GOP nomination. And 20 percent said they would back former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who also ran for the White House in 2008. Palin, who was Sen. John McCain's running mate in the last presidential election, came in third place with 15 percent, a point ahead of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

According to the poll, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, another 2008 Republican presidential hopeful, would be in fifth place, with eight percent. Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour all register in the lower single digits in the hypothetical 2012 GOP presidential nomination matchup.

"Huckabee does best among women, regular church-goers, and Republicans who never attended college," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Romney gets better numbers among white collar Republicans and GOPers who attend church once a month or less. Palin does not win among any of those groups, despite the fact that she has a higher favorable rating among Republicans than Huckabee, Romney or Gingrich."

What about the hypothetical general election matchup in 2012 against President Obama?

The poll shows Obama topping Romney 53 percent to 45 percent, beating Huckabee 54 percent to 45 percent, defeating Gingrich 55 percent to 43 percent and topping Palin 55 percent to 42.

"It is important to remember that at this stage of the game, candidate matchups are largely driven by name recognition, and at least a quarter of all Americans are unfamiliar with Romney, Huckabee and Gingrich. As a result, Obama has an 8- to-12-point edge over each of them in hypothetical matchups," adds Holland. "But in a previous CNN poll, Obama managed no better than a tie against an unnamed Republican."

But there is something more than name recognition at work in Obama's big lead over Palin.

"Palin is almost as well known as Obama, but the general public appears to have some doubts about what they have seen of her so far," says Holland.

The poll found that 61 percent of Americans think Palin is not a typical politician, and half see her as honest and trustworthy. But 54 percent say they don't agree with her on the issues, 56 percent say she is not a strong and decisive leader, and 69 percent say she is not qualified to be president. Palin is popular in the South and in rural areas, but her unfavorable rating is at or near 60 percent among women, suburbanites, Independents, and in the Northeast and West.

The poll was conducted April 9-11, with 1,008 adult Americans, including 907 registered voters, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points and plus or minus 4.5 percentage points for the sample of 498 Republicans and Republican leaning Independents.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: 2012 • CNN poll • Extra • Popular Posts • President Obama • Sarah Palin
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. no name calling

    We are saved.

    April 13, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  2. Abe

    Who is stupid enough to think their will be a Palin and Obama matchup. It will never happen.

    April 13, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. Sgt. Flagg T. McLiberty, Superpatriot

    This is what CNN has become; 24 hours a day of poll results, Twitter feeds, and YouTube videos.

    April 13, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  4. john

    Please run Palin!

    April 13, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. maine liberal

    The poll shows Obama topping Romney 53 percent to 45 percent, beating Huckabee 54 percent to 45 percent, defeating Gingrich 55 percent to 43 percent and topping Palin 55 percent to 42.

    RUN SARAH RUN

    April 13, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  6. thiscountryisnuts

    If Palin is elected I'll be singing "O Canada!"

    considering Mitt Romney and any other GOP candidate would destroy her in the debates, she'd never make it past the primaries. Let's not forget most of the GOP is educated, so while they may not make rash comments about her, I'm sure behind closed doors she more of a joke than anything.

    April 13, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. Average American

    Just in case you were wondering what the "majority" of Americans want or don't want...We want OUR PRESIDENT to continue the great work he's doing. End of story!

    April 13, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. Bill

    I think it's hilarious that she comes that close to Obama less than a year and a half into his first (and only?) term. Guess the Obama honeymoon is floundering, just like his administration.

    April 13, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  9. Will

    Obama will be the President after 2012 election.

    April 13, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. ronald

    I wish she get the nod for the party of no. It will be a slaughter in 2012

    April 13, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  11. Eric R.

    This articel is funny. We all know Obama will kick the "Sugar Honey Ice Tea " out of any R that steps to the plate, but to see it in writing is too funny.

    Obama/Biden 2012!!!!

    April 13, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. Shirley

    It's a pathetic commentary on the American electorate and politics that Palin is even considered a contender. Makes one wonder if the US is even ready for democracy.

    April 13, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  13. Auntie-Christ

    The Thinker vs the Winker?

    The Thinker wins, hands down.

    April 13, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  14. Tre

    Those double digits are a nine followed by a nine.

    April 13, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. SA in OO

    I really don't know who is dumber, the people who conduct these, too early to be meaningful, name recognition popularity polls . . .

    OR people like me who are stupid enough to read them !

    April 13, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. jay in denver

    None of these Republican candidates will beat President Obama simply because of their views on evolution. Governor Romney will lose the Republican nomination because he DOES believe in evolution (and also magic underwear, apparently), and Governors Huckabee and Palin can't win the general election because they DON'T believe in evolution.

    Newt Gingrich won't win either just because he's a hypocrite who quietly resigned his office rather than face a rather public pot/kettle disgrace over his own affairs. (See: Clinton, Reasons for Impeachment.) And Ron Paul is a one-trick pony.

    Who else ya got, GOP?

    *crickets chirping*

    April 13, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. Josh

    That would be no contest. Obama by landslide.

    April 13, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. Jim M

    What this shows is how weak the GOP field is.

    April 13, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  19. Doraine Gordon

    If the GOP wants to even try and take back the White House from Obama they had better get some new candidates. The ones the GOP is peddling now are all has beens. I think that's what the GOP is famous for. Run a candidate over and over until the public gets so tired of looking at them that they elect them. That way, the public knows they will only have to look at them four more years insead of with every coming election. The Party of No, no ideas, no new candidates, no nothing. GO HOME!!!!!

    April 13, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  20. Wanda in Montana

    Maybe there's hope for America after all.

    April 13, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  21. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Please nominate her! Please! It would make 2012 a quicker and more decisive landslide for Obama!

    April 13, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  22. Charlize O.

    "Matchup" hahaha! It sounds sooo ridiculous. I'm an independent myself, but even putting together a HIGHLY-INTELLIGENT AND KNOWLEDGEABLE person (Pres. Obama) with an airhead brainless super-lucky person, who I'm 100% sure became major and even governor (a total aberration) just for sexual favors to people in very high places, is kind of pathetic. Masny braindead super-ignorant, low-educated people support Palin because they relate to her in their ignorance, but thank God that's not even close to the majority! That brainless Palin woman does not deserve the spotlight she's receiving day by day by the national media, but this is a twisted world!

    April 13, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  23. valwayne

    I think Gov Huckabee would be the best Repubican nominee in 2012. He's smart, he understands the average working man, and he has a cool calm demeanor that projects total competence. A sincere honest man of the people like Gov Huckabee would also make Obama's arrogance and contempt for average working people all that more obvious. The nation is growing tired of Obama's arrogance, ego, sarcasm, and contempt for average people! Huckabee 2012!!!!!

    April 13, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  24. CMG

    Who the hell wants the "Queen of Sarcasm" in the White House? In the best interest of everyone, let's concentrate on someone with "substance" instead. In my wildest dreams, I can't imagine her irritating voice conferencing with Putin. Take your money and go home, Sarah. Everything that Levi said about you seems to be true.

    April 13, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  25. Not All Docs Play Golf

    A fair percentage of those who think Palin has something to offer the world probably also think that the earth is flat, that mankind started with Adam and Eve in the form of caucasians (as depicted in European art work) a mere 8000 biblical years ago, and that nobody trying to buy a bazooka should be subjected to a background check. The more Palin says and does, the more she makes her Republican party of regression the laughing stock of the more intelligent world. Her conduct confirms the the famous quote that "all of life is a continuation of high school."

    April 13, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
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