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. Jilli

    "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"

    So you're talking about what 20% of 20% of the population would do? BWAAAAHHHHH!!!!

    April 13, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. JR

    Obviously this "poll" was only of republicans because any normal ;erson would realize that comparing Obama to Palin was like comparing a Mercedes to a Pinto, Obama is a classic that will go down in history and Palin is a wreck looking for a place to explode.

    April 13, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    When will the American voter learn that the Neo Cons do not want smaller government and individual freedom?
    True Conservatives are Libertarians like the founding fathers and Dr. Ron Paul. Please folks open your minds and do not be fooled again by the lies of the GOP or the Democrats who only want to enslave us to a large Government that is so ineffective and wasteful that we have to pay the majority of our earnings to the government to support it.

    April 13, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. Donnatella

    I think it would be triple digits, I know hard core republicans that would vote for Obama before Palin, that woman is good for entertainment value only .But don't let her near the whitehouse.

    April 13, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  5. Capt. Snarky

    Though I consider myself a conservative, I'm not sure Palin has the "it" for the Presidency. I rather the conservatives find a better choice to run – I kinda like Jim DeMint. Mitt does nothing for me. Huckabee isn't much better.

    April 13, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. Seattle G

    She is a quitter! She left her gov position and the State of Alaska for who knows what – really??? She may leave her position as a president of (??) for a spot on Dancing with the Stars!..

    April 13, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  7. vwrtb

    No matter who the republicans throw out there they will get massacred... its not the person just the policy... poor out of touch republicans... Americans are fed up with you pro corporate tools and your sanctimoneous

    April 13, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. Daniel

    An Obama-Palin contest in 2012 will be a political disaster as it will leave the American people with little or no choice whether the people want war or peace.The main problem here is that we have two political parties,both of them on the right so both the moderates and the liberals have been pretty much programmed out of the process.

    April 13, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  9. CR

    There is nothing to her. No substance whatsoever. She's perfect for the Republican nomination.

    April 13, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  10. vwrtb

    No matter who the republicans throw out there they will get massacred... its not the person just the policy... poor out of touch republicans... Americans are fed up with you pro corporate tools and your sanctimonious, hypocritical b.s.

    April 13, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  11. Scott ATL

    Who would I rather see running the country??? Obama

    who would I rather see naked??? Palin

    April 13, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    All told, the past few weeks haven't been going well for the GOP/T-Pers . . .

    How's that whole Palin/Tea Party thingy working out for y'all?

    April 13, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  13. Clint, Wa.

    Boy your in big trouble now CNN., all this bad media, she is going to quit and go home.

    April 13, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  14. Liz the First

    This restores my faith in the intelligence of most of the American people. anyone who would vote for this ignoramus woman over someone who has proven his intelligence, his competence, and his caring for the American people truly wants to see this country fail big time. she would be worse than bush, if that's possible.

    April 13, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. Concerned Citizen

    Palin has no chance. She is an old, tired joke that needs to be forgotten.

    April 13, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. David

    No suprise Palins in 3rd place.However with 2 years to go that is a great spot to be.After all the non stop attacks and this new theme she is not ready, making the rounds.I am suprised she even does this well.Anyways if the polls dictated in 2005 & 2006 who would of won each parties nomination in 2008.You would of seen money bags Romney versus Hillary in 2008.Same with in 2007.However it did not work out that way did it?In aug 2007 only 29% in a cbs poll thought Obama was qualified.Gee that is never reported today as people keep posting these polls about how only roughly 29% think, Palins qualified with 2 years,not 6 months untill the first primary.Common people enough with this poll garbage.In Mass in Dec 2009, Coakly was up 30 points and lost by 8.In one month for everyone to witness that kind of turn around only spells one thing.Polls mean 0 up untill a week of an election.

    April 13, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. a health economist

    As long as they keep writing about this on these tickers I'm going to keep making this assertion. SARAH PALIN IS 100% QUALIFIED TO BE PRESIDENT. The US Constitution states that the only qualifications to be President are:

    1) a natural born citizen
    2) 35 years of age or older
    3) been a resident of the US at least 14 years

    She meets all of these qualifications. But this does not change the fact that I think she would be a terrible President. Being qualified to do something doesn't mean you would be good at it.

    April 13, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  18. RadioCityMan

    We will have another 4 years of Bush-style politics if Sarah Palin comes to power. A person so immature and deceitful as Palin handling the Oval office is very scary.

    April 13, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  19. bmw

    It's pretty serious when Palin's unfavorable ratings are higher than Nancy Pelosi's, after all the propaganda, hate, and fearmongering against Pelosi.

    Thank goodness we have representatives like President Obama, Senator Reid, and Speaker Pelosi who have the intelligence and courage to do what's right for the American people despite all the venom coming from the rightwing (and the corporate CEOs who give the rightwing their orders).

    April 13, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. joan

    America certainley does not need a president who will divide this great nation.That's what Sarah Palin is all about. We need to move forward and not backwards.

    April 13, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  21. Bubba

    Oh no! Don't ditch Sarah! She could energize the base, stir up the anger, throw red meat to the pit bulls, strut her hot button, and lose the election.

    April 13, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  22. Indiana Mike

    I hope she runs (and loses).

    April 13, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  23. Rob in VT

    Well, well... not Palin, amazing! Perhaps the Repubs are not quite as idiotic as I thought them to be.

    April 13, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  24. Gale

    I don't care what you hateful, spiteful, and jealous Dems say. She is a pretty lady, good sense of humor, and not nearly as stupid as you really, really smart people say. So when the Dems are voted out in 2012, let the good times roll!!

    April 13, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  25. Mikey

    I would be absolutely shocked if 42% of Americans voted for Sarah Palin. If Palin ran against a marble statue, I would vote for the statue under the logic that it would do much less harm. (I know, I stole that line)

    April 13, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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