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. Ellie

    What IDIOT would even think this is even a match up? It's like comparing a Pinto to a Bentley.

    This is absolutely ABSURD. President Obama hands down.

    April 13, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  2. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Palin couldn't beat a dog turd in a national election.

    April 13, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  3. RCasson

    Obama will crucify Palin and all the other clowns on the list. Bring it on!

    April 13, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  4. Mike

    By the time 2012 gets here it won't be Palin running and Obama will lose the election by double-digit points. Americans are waking up to this madness and will not be tricked by the media again. The MSM was in bed with Obama from day one and was corrupt in their coverage of him and promotion for the Democratic party.

    April 13, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  5. Cecilia

    this is sooooooooooo no contest. to even suggest a competition between President Obama and Palin is laughable.
    Just what would you compare – IQ no contest – education -no contest
    integrity – no contest – experience – no contest
    if you want to compare Palin to someone and make it fair – compare her to – oh I dont know, how about – oh gosh- I betcha this is harder than I thought it would be – Glenn Beck – thats it

    April 13, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. Harriett in Chapel Hill

    Why does CNN continue to dwell on a completely inane issues??? You guys are now Fox-Light. Sad.

    April 13, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. AndyBlue

    I cant believe that people would even consider voting for Palin as an actual president. Shocking.

    Well, after the Bush years and the complete disgrace they have brought onto America and our Military I guess I shouldnt be shocked at all.

    April 13, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  8. chin nguyen

    I would move back to Viet Nam if Sarah Palin became the USA president . She is extremely unqualified politician ,most of the times she does'nt know what she talks about.

    April 13, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. MrDuh

    Really? Obama would beat Sarah Palin? Wow. I am in complete shock right now. CNN please keep in mind that Americans are not idiots. She shouldn't stand a chance. However, I do think Romney and Paul would be great challengers to Obama.

    April 13, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  10. ib

    If people vote for Obama again they must be so far left they can't see a foot in front of theirselves. Obama is destroying this country with his out of controll spending. higher and higher taxes here we come.

    April 13, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. mjd

    palin is not smart enough to know that her rhetoric is misleading and dangerous. she is a quitter and not qualified to be a small town mayor.

    April 13, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  12. Ross

    Nobody has any interest in what Palin says except you (Ticker), obviously you have some kind of infatuation. She is clearly a narcissist, and if you would just stop reporting every time she goes to the bathroom I would be much happier.

    April 13, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. Brian, Pensacola

    glad to see that Palin is purely an entertainment draw!!!

    April 13, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. K. in Miami

    You have to be kidding...

    The President of the United States is one serious smart articulate fella.....

    Sarah Palin is the most pathetic excuse for a woman, a mother, a citizen, and most importantly, a joke of a politician....

    Sarah Palin has been reduced to being a FEMALE Rush Limbaugh!

    There is no comparison

    April 13, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. bill

    what are you internals on this poll. it appears a over sampling of dem's.

    April 13, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  16. floridian

    The only reason Huckabee would run is to continue with the bigotry from his 2008 campaign. He cannot stand Romney's religion and will do all he can to keep Romney from securing the nomination. In my opinion Romney is the best candidate when one considers the economic state of the country, the need to minimize the health care debacle, the unemployment rate, etc. As an aside, Palin ought to move to Massachusetts and run against Kerry the first chance she gets.

    April 13, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  17. Pete Devon

    Why are we even comparing that low-life trash with the President of United States?

    April 13, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. Mary Ann in VA

    Former Gov.Palin does not seem to have anything to put forth in most political debates except one line insults and zingers. She does seem likable enough though and I think that is why she is still in the media spotlight. Of course, President Obama would win against her on obvious intelligence alone.

    April 13, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. Doug,lib jersey

    Palin wins by double digits when the poll is conducted by only asking the real Americans, aka the ones who actually pay federal income taxes.

    April 13, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. Dave

    Let the republican hate machine start their spin. All of the republican's mentioned are well known. They presented their vision for America either via the presidential race (palin) , the primary race (romney, huckabee, paul) or their congressional record. (Newt) Let's face it, Obama is the best their is, In order for Palin to be seen as a viable candidate, (listen republicans) she needs to keep a very low profile, study up on the issues and her history and speak intelligently. Right now, she wants the spotlight (doesn't realize that Reagan wants to reuce the amount of arms we have) doesn't know the issues (nuclear threats) and her country vocabulary makes her sound ignorant (you betcha)

    April 13, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  21. todd

    A lot of people do know Gingrich and his contract with America. Yeah, we all know how well that went.

    Also, They know that he divorced his wife while she was in the hospital for cancer.

    Many still remember that he was fined $300,000 for a book deal he made while in the House.

    Gingrich is probably better know than what some people think because he already has lots of experience on the national stage.

    April 13, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  22. Jack in Florida

    How can anyone think Sarah Palin is more qualified than Barack Obama?????? Talk about apples and oranges!!!!! It's like comparing a Mercedes Benz to a Pinto....

    April 13, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  23. hobart

    These recent presidential match up polls, and the latest poll that has the Democrats ahead in Congressional races, must be because the public can see through the Republican lies and hypocrisy.

    The economy is recovering in spite of Republican assertions to the contrary, and in spite of Republicans doing everything in their power to prevent it.

    Why do Republicans hate America?

    April 13, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    That remains to be seen though I'm not a fan of Ms. Palin's for president. If Nobama's ratings keep going further and further in the tank, my next door neighbor could beat him.

    April 13, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  25. McLuhan

    If the GOP Puts Palin on their ticket for 2012, it would be political suicide and could bring an end to the GOP as we know it. I can't imagine any sane Republican backing Sarah Palin and for the Presidency. Having the Prom Queen for Student Government or Governor of a state with a population smaller than Orange county, CA is one thing, but throwing their weight behind a candidate whose only redeeming quality is being cute would gut the GOP like one of Sarah's Moose. The core of the Party is smarter than that.

    April 13, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
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