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. aware

    Ryan will top Obama by double digits in 2012! :)

    April 13, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. Shirley in California

    Well duh...who didn't already know this?

    April 13, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. Carol

    Why would SP even run for president. I could do just as good as she did when she ran last time Give me a break................

    April 13, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. Joke's_on_you

    Obama vs Palin? Is this even a contest? More like a blowout.

    April 13, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. Common Sense Americans

    Ahhhh this is just hilarious , is this the best that the republican party can put up against President Obama .....Really , a few has beens and a couple of idiots . How about a solution for republicans presidential woes , all you guys have to do is find a minority canidate who doesn't believe in just helping the wealthy , but everyone, someone that is inclusionary not scared because other's have better ideas .....I could give a few more suggestion but he republicans need to figure this thing out on their own !

    April 13, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. JP

    This is an interesting hypothetical situation. I'm surprised at the lead that Obama supposedly has over each GOP contender. I would think that people would be more likely to vote along party lines (i.e. even if a republican is not fond of Palin, they would still vote for her as a republican candidate over Obama).

    What I think is more interesting is how media has affected the public's overall impression of Palin and Obama. For instance, if Palin was not parodied on SNL or if Obama was not portrayed as such an icon (e.g. the HOPE posters), would the public view them differently? If the public did not have the distortion of the media (whether intended or not) and the presidential candidates were assessed based on their character and merits (i.e. experience, leadership, ideology, etc.) how would the public's opinion change regarding such a presidential election match-up?

    April 13, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. Tari Torch Sweeney - Shaker Heights, OH

    Um...was this ever in doubt? I mean, outside chance that a Republican even wins the White House in 2012, who thought it would be Palin? I am more surprised about Huckabee! Ha! Palin probably believe(s) she will win! And, of course her husband, the First Guy....

    April 13, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. SC-Pub "no" more

    If you need a job, find a polling company. These people take 1000 polls a day.

    April 13, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. Seriously?

    Why are we comparing Obama to a half term governor who has absolutely nothing to contribute to this country but rally her fellow inbred white trailerpark trash.

    April 13, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. Bill

    So 15% think Palin has presidential potential. This country is in serious trouble. Our educational systems have failed.

    April 13, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  11. moosehead

    CNN,... will you stop it with these theatrics? To mention Obama and Palin Pylon in the same sentence, when talking winning an election is laughable. Palin has absolutely no substance,.. she's like an inflatable sex doll,...full of hot air,.. and a pleasure only for the desperate.

    April 13, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. Peter E

    Maybe republicans should stop pretending to be anything but knee-jerk extremists and finally nominate Rush Limbaugh. They parrot him anyway, and he has indicated he wanted to dictate national policies anyway. (remember his comment that he should get to decide 46% of the national budget because that's the percentage McCain vote of the popular vote?)

    April 13, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. Niky

    If it happens otherwise then we can only play for America.

    April 13, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  14. jeff jackson, alabama

    I think the fly in this poll is this.........
    Many Republicans like myself don't identify
    with the Republican party of the last few years.
    Palin's appeal is stronger with the Republicans
    who feel abandoned by the party.
    The irony is we were accusing the democratic
    party of being hijacked just a few years back.
    Now our own party has been hijacked.
    Make fun of Palin all you want but don't be
    surprised to find out later that the unhappy
    Republicans are much larger in number than you may
    think. If we get a candidate who is of the Reagan
    mold who won't compromise their principles to
    appease their opponents (Sarah Palin) then we
    could finally have a strong third party in America.
    And remember this.....with a third party ,less than
    40% of the votes can win an election.

    April 13, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. FactCheck

    This is the problem with the RNC: they have too many "also-rans" but no clear leadership. Any Party that has Palin as a viable candidate is just completely clueless. Hard to believe that these are the same folks that pushed Dubya through two terms.

    April 13, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. Aviate

    So after months of listening to conservatives (& even the so-called liberal media) prattle on about Obama's plummeting poll numbers (which have been stable since late Fall), we learn that he would smoke any of the GOP's presumptive nominees–even after "ramming" the Health Care bill "down our throats" and running "the most liberal" and "socialist" presidency ever!

    Can't wait to see how the GOP tries to spin this one...

    April 13, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  17. MAD IN TEXAS

    Don't be stupid PALIN will be the candidate for the Tea Party and we will win just because the supporters of Obama are making their run around the flag comment about a woman who has never done them any wrong. It is typical though for this kind of gutter talk coming from THESE people. Let them have their OBAMA for three more years. They will by that time be as sick of him as I am now.

    April 13, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. Sheri, Springfield Oregon

    CNN is doing polls with THIS woman's name still??? Get a clue CNN! Why didn't you just throw Kate Gosselin in the mix while you're at it?!

    April 13, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. Patrick Donovan

    Gov. Palin and other Republicans like her will bring down the Party to defeat in November. She made her biggest mistake when she left her job as Governor to go out on her 'bully pulpit'. Now, she is a pathetic example of what not to be to all women who would like to see a woman become President of the United States..........not for her in this lifetime. But, hopefully for another who has the experience, tenacity and foresight to energize the American electorate.

    April 13, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. Sean

    I have a very hard time believing that half of Americans see Palin as "honest and trustworthy". This is the woman who introduced the term "death panels". She's the one who claimed Obama "pals around with terrorists". She's the one who, when she released a book about the election, had virtually everyone she talked about in it speak out against the lies she told about them. Very few public figures out there are LESS honest and trustworthy than her.

    April 13, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. Logan in IA

    You know, I am a liberal democrat, and I can't stand most republicans. However, if there is any republican that I wouldn't mind see running for president is Ron Paul. I don't agree with him on health care and global warming, but he actually has some decent ideas when it comes to our military defense and the war on drugs. He is the also the only republican that will admit that their party is falling apart at it's seems.

    April 13, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. Independent Supports President Obama

    Of course President Obama would win with a landslide against Palin. The majority of Americans are not stupid enough to put our fate in Palin's hands. Palin won't run she has what she wants media attention anytime she wants it with no responsibility. She has also made 12 million dollars since she quite her job as Governor of Alaska in July 2009.

    Where is John Mccain when you need him, he should have picked me and I could be rich. Oh I forgot someone that has sense, does not lie, does not divide the country and is educated would not be selected by McCain as his running mate. Oh well I guess I will have to work for a living unlike Palin.

    April 13, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  23. Susan L.

    42 percent WOULD vote for Palin? And yet 69% think she's not qualified? Does that mean that 11% think she's unqualified, but would still vote for her over President Obama? Wow. It just boggles the mind how far Republicans are willing to go to destroy this nation.

    April 13, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. Michael Bindner

    The question is, which of the GOP eight do better in delegate math state by state. Overall appeal matters little. Who wins Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina? More importantly, who wins Texas, Virginia, California and Florida? Jebby Bush may yet reappear.

    April 13, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. Troubled Independent

    My vote goes to Hillary. However, if obammie is on the ticket, I will vote republican. I won't vote at all if palin is the nominee.

    April 13, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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