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. Marie MD

    Oh please! My dog could beat the quitter in a beauty and brain contest.
    We already know she came in third tied with the gingrich.
    CNN you people are too much. Obama vs quitter. She's just an insignificant individual in a field of other repugs.
    Fifty five to forty two! Yeah, right in the repug dreams.

    April 13, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. shucks

    So Huckabee who is as looney as they come beats Palin who is dumber than dirt. There are so many intelligent electable republicans, but still the right wing zealots have there hold on the party. It will be the parties doom if they don't start embracing their true assets in their own party. The ones they are proposing as favorites are truly not electable unless all the independents and many democrats switch their votes, which won't happen as the idealogy of the ring wingnuts is just too much for those moderates to swallow.

    April 13, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. Dar

    Way to far off to be conducting polls right now about 2012.
    How about having a poll about how we feel concerning JOBS.
    Lets see how America feels about Odumbo then.

    April 13, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. lolo

    Are you really shocked by this? No one in their right mind will vote for Sarah Palin to be President. This lady is just out for the money she is making off of her sheep, and they are eating it up.

    April 13, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. Jim Marler

    Does this great country need another GOP......we have not recovered from the 8 years of the last. They seemed hell bent on destroying this country. The got us into Iraq was, wrecked the financial system and a
    previously sound housing market. Any one with a grain of judgment would say they need a rest until we can repair this country.

    April 13, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  6. Guest

    Oh...come on Palin Vs Obama. At-least give the man somebody who can match up to his intelligence if not political thinking.

    April 13, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  7. Jim Marler

    Does this great country need another GOP......we have not recovered from the 8 years of the last. They seemed hell bent on destroying this country. The got us into Iraq War, wrecked the financial system and a
    previously sound housing market. Any one with a grain of judgment would say they need a rest until we can repair this country.

    April 13, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  8. Diana, upstate NY

    Palin should be on the bottom of a list of 100.

    God bless us if she ever runs for another office position.
    America wake up and stop being convinced of a pretty
    face. She is a nothing and is trying to destroy this country.

    April 13, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. Yvette

    I'm thinking about writing a drama/horror novel regarding Palin in the Oval Office. Bill Kristol, Gingrich, Krautheimer and all those weirdo's propel her into the White House, you know, feeding her political lines, republican sound bytes, foreign policy tidbits and she fools the independents in America-and gets elected. It would be a thriller, to be sure. In the end, she ends up destroying the entire world, a global fiasco, the end of the world as we know it. In fact, she winks as she pushes the nuclear button. Think it will sell?

    April 13, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    Needless to say: LOL.

    If this is the dregs the GOP generates by scraping the bottom of the barrel, they're in serious, SERIOUS trouble unless they can completelly and utterly stop Congress from doing a single thing for the next 3 years and force everyone to suffer in such a way that they can still blame the Dems for it. Think they don't realize that? What how they vote.

    April 13, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. Dano

    "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."

    So basically she might be able to pull out a win in Alabama, Mississippi, and/or Kentucky, though I doubt even that would be possible. Now you can see how badly McCain erred by choosing this shrewish, ignorant woman for a running mate. She is not qualified to sweep the floor at the White House, and she is certainly not in the same league as President Obama or any of the other GOP contenders mentioned.

    April 13, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. Frances Yvette

    None of this really matters.

    As the article says, 'Random Republican' would do better as an option than any specific person due to weak name recognition.

    And the poll which did that recently is still too old, and to pre-health care success, pre-nuclear and pre-Russia/China events.

    The most telling poll will be in a month or two after all the success Obama has had in the last 1-2 months sinks in.

    April 13, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. Kenneth

    A lot of people may be angry at Obama, but they're not stupid. Even they know the hazards of putting another doofus in the White House.

    April 13, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. Jon

    I find it insulting to the American people's intelligence that this question is even asked. Obama versus Palin? Give me a break. It's not going happen. Not even Republicans are that short sighted.

    April 13, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  15. tina

    Please Sarah Palin run!!

    April 13, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. Bill in Austin

    News must be slow for CNN to try to make something out of nothing with a poll on Obama vs. Palin. Just try to imagine her debating Obama three times? It would be like a college professor vs. a kindergartner with no disrespect to the kindergartner intended. When the Republicans and Conservatives wake up and realize that Palin does not have the intellectual bona fides to run this country, then they can get serious about finding a real contender. Recognize her for what she is-a cheerleader and nothing more and again no disrepect to cheerleaders.

    April 13, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. kfc, NJ

    This is a stupid article. Anyone with common sense knows Palin is not qualified to be president of anything. .

    April 13, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  18. Avg Guy in Red State Kansas

    It's hard to imagine why ANYONE with at least two firing synapses would even CONSIDER choosing Ms. Palin as President. She's a quitter, a hypocrite, a liar and a buffoon. She is the intellectual equivalent of road kill.

    And then there's Mr. Huckabee – He's incompetent, also a liar and a has little regard for the middle class. It's hard to believe that the sperm that created Mr. Huckabee beat out millions of others in the race to fertilize the "egg of the month."

    There is little doubt most of those who dislike Mr. Obama are not only sore losers but most likely have racial issues with which they've never come to grips.

    Sadly, I suspect 2012 will be a reincarnation of 2008 – a divisive, ugly election rife with name calling and lies.

    April 13, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  19. Mike in LA

    "It is important to remember that at this stage of the game, candidate matchups are largely driven by name recognition"
    Who are you polling? If they don't know these names, they must be living under a rock!

    April 13, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  20. Rita Luisa

    I'd rather vote for Tina Fey for President, however, OBAMA is doing just fine...he is an improvement over the Bush/Cheney devastation, and if the Tea Baggers are so concerned over government waste, where were they when Bush/Cheney became billionaires over the Iraq war??? Why is okay for Republicans to make money for themselves and not be taxed??? Why is Dick Cheney NOT in jail?? Please, enough with Sarah Palin's hypocrasy....

    April 13, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  21. Smith in Oregon

    President Obama wins a second term in office hands down over Bachman-Palin-Romney. I rather find it laughable that is all the Republican party of NO has for it's nominee's. The Republican party should endorse Ron Paul, at least he has a message of substance.

    April 13, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  22. Benito

    hahahahahahah come on that is just funny to think she has a chance. i would vote for Lucy from the comic strip Peanuts before turning over my country to a quitter from Alaska no matter how great her eye sight may be in looking to Russia or reading ALL those magazines or supreme court decisions. hahahahaha

    April 13, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  23. Christopher

    Yeah CNN! Runnin some polls on a non-office-holding, half-term governor who hasn't even announced she's running for president which, of course, isn't even for another 2.5 years anyway! Way to keep it relevant CNN! Yr raisin' some eyebrows, yo! I'm sure this poll will resonate for at least another 45 minutes until you cover it yourself in a completely separate post!

    April 13, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  24. John

    CNN stop putting Sarah Palin in your articles. Your reputation as a news network has gone down the toilet with your ratings. Please, for the love of journalism and reporting for the sake of telling people useful information instead of invoking flash in the pan emotions and soundbites, just do what you're supposed to do.

    April 13, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  25. Patriot1028

    When you see Nancy Pelosi score over 30 percent in popularity you have to question the poll. Was this only taken in San Francisco?

    April 13, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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