April 13th, 2010
09:31 PM ET
4 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. Hendrik

    Why does CNN and the rest of the chattering class have this fascination with Palin? Do they secretly want to sleep with her?

    April 13, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  2. andrewstl

    in a separate poll people who feel sarah palin is intelligent are fools!

    April 13, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  3. Sandy

    Sarah v Obama? LMAO!

    No contest whatsoever. I would NEVER consider Palin Presidential material.

    April 13, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  4. Dan

    Sarah Palin is an entertainer, not a politician.

    April 13, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  5. Denise

    Bring the lying hypocrite on – Obama 2012 – Smart guy wins AGAIN

    April 13, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  6. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    The republicans could run a third world dictator against Obama, and the 42% who make up the republican party would vote against our president. (Obama 56%, Castro or Chavez 42%)

    April 13, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  7. Hwy91

    Oh, let's make it a horserace – Palin v. Pelosi. It'll be Pelosi, in a landslide.

    April 13, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  8. h. simon

    Why do we have to hear or read what Palin has to say on any subject? She quit her political job,but feel she should comment on any thing that Obama sets out to do. Unbelievable!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 13, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  9. Goose66

    Why do folks at CNN and other "mainstream" news outlets keep talking about Sarah Palin? Shouldn't this article be titled "Obama beats current GOP potential candidates in new poll?" Why is Sarah Palin constantly held out as the face of the Republican party. I know a lot of people like her, but no one I know thinks she is a serious candidate for any national political office, much less President. Is it because CNN wants to paint the GOP in the negative light of its most controversial member? "I can't stand that woman, Palin. I better rush out and vote for Osama again."

    April 13, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  10. Branden

    "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,"

    ... uh, yeah. I also have doubts about her ability to form proper sentences.

    April 13, 2010 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  11. Karl Larson

    They should put all these pollsters on an island somewhere. .and let them feed their foolish and meaningless results to each other. .as the rest of us really don't give much of a crap

    April 13, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  12. Loren

    I'd be more inclined to believe that in an Obama vs. Palin election, Palin would come in third...after "None of the Above."

    Maybe she can run for President of Alaska, after they secede.

    April 13, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  13. Butch

    Interesting the way it's shaping up already!

    April 13, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  14. rh5

    Hey all the Evagels reading this and are wrapped up in the politics of these here times. Read Romans 13, do a bible study on the text and get back to me. Dont shoot the messanger, read.

    April 13, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  15. vet in tx

    depends on who you ask and how often they write reminder notes on their palms

    April 13, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  16. Dennis Pence

    Sarah Palin not qulaified? – She had a partial term as a Governor and actually did something. Obama had a partial term as a Senator and did nothing. If she isn't qualified, neither is he. Goes to show what a bunch of ignorant, do nothing, government take care of me people that live and vote in this country. Not all should be allowed to vote as we well know now. If Obama doesn't manage to destroy the country before 2010, maybe America will wake up. It owuld take someone with a lot of business experience and real "intestinal fortitude" to step in and clean up Washington D.C. If it doesn't happen, we will be ruled by a foreign country sooner than later. Think it can't happen? Obama bows to everyone – except to the will of the American people.

    April 13, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  17. maggie

    Palin is a loud mouthed airhead. If she were a man, people would chalk her up to a looney.

    April 13, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  18. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Compare Palin to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who is qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice and President. Palin can't even be suggested by the Republican party as an appointment of a justice. Americans enjoy Palin's comedy but they aren't stupid.

    April 13, 2010 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  19. Kim

    She came in third? Well that's just disturbing.....

    April 13, 2010 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  20. Jarvis Slacks

    God. Finally. Some Good news for a change.

    April 13, 2010 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  21. Chuck the Reason

    If Palin runs get ready for four more years!

    April 13, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  22. ConstitutionalPatriot

    Every last one of them is an empty suit owned by the bankers and corporate elite, with the exception of Ron Paul. The American people really need to know that none of them except Mr. Paul are any different than President Obama. If you really want real change including peace, prosperity, and respect for the constitution and individual liberties, the only choice is Ron Paul. Make no mistake about it Ron Paul would easily win every debate against President Obama as he isn't playing political games or saying what someone else told him to, he is telling the truth, no notes, no teleprompter just the honest truth. Ron Paul 2012!

    April 13, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  23. Mike Mc

    Seriously..how is she even a contender again? Who's next Heidi Montag???

    April 13, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  24. chris l

    Wow, Its a sad day for the radical anti american fringe liberal party. I mean when polls are already being taken about the 2012 race (Obozo may be impeached or even physically removed from office by then due to the coming revolution) after Obozo has been in office a little over a year its pathetic. The fact that this poll was even taken this early on shows how pathetic, non effective and basically ridiculous the Obama regime really is. After the radicals get wiped out in November, the focus will be on the lead Socialist and Chief. Take this poll in 2012 when it matters and see what the results are then. Guarantee the Radical and Chief will be one and done. COUNT ON IT

    April 13, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  25. Jaime

    And you're surprised why?

    April 13, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
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