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. Grundoon

    I wonder what Zogby Polls say. Their polls have reflected actual outcome more closely. But, yeah, Bailin' Palin is a moron. I want the GOP to keep on doin' what their doin'. It will only make Obama's numbers better. The GOP needs to just sit back and watch what real public servants do FOR our country. They might learn a thing or two, if public service is what they are interested in rather than corporate service.

    April 13, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  2. Palin Power

    Sarah Palin can easily PWN Obambi in 2012. She will become America's next and greatest President of all times for she is GOD's CHOSEN ONE, GOD INCARNATE and the LIVING EMBODIMENT of GOD HERSELF! She is the REAL MESSIAH and SAVIOR of this country and she will bring REAL CHANGE that is needed. She will UNLEASH GOD's WRATH onto DC and root out all the corruption and restore the government to the people! It is all part of GOD's grand plan as GOD HERSELF set up the economic collapse and put Obambi in 2008 for him to fail so that her CHOSEN ONE can come in 2012 and clean up all of this mess from all previous presidents. This world needs the Palin Revolution!

    April 13, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  3. Michael from Ventura

    This is obvious to anyone with a brain. She's WAY out of her league. The President is intelligent, compassionate, and knows the issues that concern the American people....Sarah knows none of that.

    April 13, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. Dennis

    Personally, I wouldn't vote for either one of them. They both need to grow up. We haven't really had a "grown up" president since Reagan.

    April 13, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  5. Mark

    America just can't afford for our gov't to keep getting bigger!

    April 13, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  6. Vietnam vet

    You mean to tell me there are people who are not her family members who would actually vote for her?

    April 13, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. The real truth from Chicago

    Silly rabbits. Tricks are for kids. Who even thought Palin had a chance?

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

    Say what you want about Obama, but if the GOP runs Palin (I doubt they will) they are guaranteeing another four years for him.

    April 13, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. Charles

    This is too far away to even put any credence to this. I would vote Sarah.

    April 13, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. cindy ex-republican SINCE MCCAIN PICKED PALIN

    Oh thank you America!!! I knew we were too smart to elect someone like Sarah Palin. Can you even imagine her sitting at the summit with all those foreign diplomats? If the GOP are smart, they will not let her become a candidate. She is a gaurantee loss for them. Thank you again, thank you thank you, thank you and GOD Bless the United States of America.

    April 13, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. PEDRO

    Ahhh, I smell a Republican blood bath in November 2010/2012

    April 13, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  12. Lee

    it is absolutely terrifying she got any support. i know she is fun to watch on television, in the same way that 'kids say the darndest things' was fun. if she got 15% of potential GOP support should we expect 'snookie' from mtv's 'jersey shore' to be hovering around those same numbers?
    the woman is a disgrace...unfathomably ignorant...speaks volumes for the state of the republican party.

    April 13, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    its a trick question america.

    they all blow.........

    fight organized crime..............vote them all out

    i dont understand why this is so hard to do, i know vermonters are dumb...............but why would you send the same person to washington for 35 years?

    April 13, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  14. Independent

    I am not for Palin, but I have to questions the validity of your CNN opinion poll. You are only banking your article on this report which is read by a largely democrat audience. It is far from balanced. To make a news report about your opinion poll seems a little bit propaganda-ish. I am not in love with Obama either, which most of the media seems to think we still all are.

    April 13, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  15. CJMATL

    So as the poll results indicate, Palin ONLY appeals to poor, ignorant, uneducated, uninformed, angry white male Confederates. There's no way she can become President with just that demographic.

    April 13, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  16. Brianne

    Sarah Palin is like a huge pimple. It is grossly obnoxious, you can’t wait for it to just go away, the more you stress and focus on it the larger and more pronounced it gets, it didn’t have any business being there in the first place, and in the large scheme of things it really doesn’t have any effect on your life.

    April 13, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  17. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    perhaps the "dumbing down of America" is not quite as effective as I thought. Sarah Palin is good at throwing "red meat" out to her fans, but even some hardcore GOPers know that she is far from being presidential material. In fact she is being so overexposed at the moment that sooner or later her flame is going to burn out. I do credit her for this though, she's making all the money she can before it does.

    April 13, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  18. PJP

    I don't really want a woman president and before anybody gets all rude, I am a woman, but I would sure vote for Palin over Obama anyday of the week, month, or year! That man needs to be impeached!

    April 13, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  19. LC in CA

    Don't you media "professionals" have anything better to cover? Palin may be your darling, given the fact that you sniff every piece of laundry she leaves in her hugely unattractive wake, but I think most of us find her boring, tedious, and embarrassingly self-absorbed. Can't you find a better representative of what is really happening in our country? Obama is making huge strides toward protecting the majority of us, (the middle-class, the poor, and others who don't fall under the "elite" category for media coverage,) so who not give us a break? Stop playing into the divisiveness of this unimportant person and stop insulting our intelligences with this non-stop coverage.

    April 13, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  20. Cynthiathegreat

    How can she take care of the World if she just quit in the middle of her term in Alaska. No, thank you. I do not like quitters!!!!!

    April 13, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  21. Jesse

    Bring 'em on.

    If the country is as bad off as SOME people claim, the polls would not have Obama at 53-55% in these matchups.

    April 13, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  22. Nate from Atlanta

    I still can't believe any educated person would vote for Palin.

    April 13, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  23. Charles

    Palin's only interest is her bank account. She will say and do whatever it takes to get the MONEY. The oath of office means nothing to her she quit in Alaska and she will quit anytime its profitable for her period end of story.

    April 13, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  24. David Thomas

    Sorry, Sarah, you can only fool part of the people all the time.

    April 13, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  25. John

    Many don't trust the CNN polls. They tend to slant questions for desired outcomes. It is outrageous how CNN will do a documentary on Sarah Palin but present her very negatively taking clips that show her bloopers and then finish with a Tina Fey Clip. If conservatives did that to Obama they would be labeled racist. I have seen many of Sarahs interviews and personally find her more intelligent than Obama. But hey CNN sees him as the messiah and would not dare present him in a negative light.

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