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. Kraig Rasool

    There are not enough points on the scale to measure the amount
    Obama would have to soar pass Palin.... I mean come on why is
    this even a story? The constant rhetoric that Palin produces should
    be enough for any intelligent person to literally want to jump off a
    cliff, get up and do it again...Palin gives new meaning to the word
    dummy...wait I think even a dummy could utter a few words that make
    sense..

    April 13, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. ProfBill

    Sarah who?.......

    April 13, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. LDH81

    "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.

    Uh...really? People do not know who Romney, Huckabee and Gingrich are? Gingrich I might be able to see as he has been out of the news in recent years. Romney and Huckabee were both canidates for the GOP nomination coming in third and second (in that order) behind McCain.

    Gingrich is he former speaker of the house and I think his name is still very well known.

    April 13, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  4. Dean

    You betcha thats funny

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

    What else do you expect

    April 13, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  6. Obama Fan

    This poll should come as no shock to anybody. Sarah Palin is nothing more than a pretty face, a wink, and a bunch of cutesy-folksy sounding platitudes. She has no substance. I actually hope she runs, so that she can get slaughtered by her own party. Divided GOP equals 4 more years of Barack Obama, the best President we've had in a long time!!!

    April 13, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  7. Steve

    Shocker!! CNN reports supposed bad news for Palin. Why can't CNN go 48 hours without reporting trying to make her look bad or marginalize her?? How come we never see the polling data showing Obama or other dems losing massive support?

    April 13, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  8. JL

    Why does CNN even bother with headlines like this? It's insulting and demeaning.
    John McCain/Sarah Palin lost the election. To hear her still harp on "community organizer" is stupid. Bottom line, that community organizer beat you. The voters decided.
    Sarah Palin stirs up the pot with drivel but NEVER offers a suggestion for any problem. We need people willing to come to the table with ideas not constant never-ending criticisism.

    April 13, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  9. RLE

    Who cares about Palin; only an idiot would vote her in as Commander in Chief of this great nation. Enough with the stupid polls!!!

    April 13, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  10. mfhpr

    people actually said they'd vote for her?! Why???? What does she have to offer in the way of intelligence, knowledge and political savvy?

    April 13, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  11. LeaveTen

    I don't understand why Palin is even being considered here. People think Bush was bad; people think Obama is bad... Electing Palin would be the end of the US

    April 13, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. mike

    Barry vs. Sarah...the ultimate white-male, redneck, red-blood, political-erotic fantasy of vanquishing superior intellect & competence with flirty-skirty racism disguised as "the people's voice". At least they won't have to give her a makeover to say 'nucular', 'terrrr' & other fake folkisms – she's already a hick!

    April 13, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. NVa Native

    You've got to be kidding?
    Palin is an idiot compared to her Republican peer group, let alone against some one as intelligent and effective as President Obama. The joke is she gets 40 something percent comapred to Obama's 50 something?! How can so many be so ignorrant?

    April 13, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  14. paul

    A President Palin leading a Nuclear Arms Summit would be more scary than watching "The Exorcist" when we were kids!!

    April 13, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. cardog

    For Sarah Palin to be even in the top 100 shows how leaderless the Republican party truely is. If the American public is so desperate to make a change in the White House in 2012 that they would even give the slightest consideration to Sarah Palin, tells me how low we have sunk as a nation.
    As we go along, I find myself speechless when it comes to the subject of who should lead our country for the next 8 years. Seems to me it's a no brainer but of course, I support President Obama 100% now and will do so again in 2012.

    April 13, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  16. Sam

    Obama all the way..........Will win again in 2012.

    April 13, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  17. Stacey, California

    I wouldn't trust her with my household let alone our country. Anyone who can't ensure that her daughter doesn't get pregnant out of wedlock doesn't deserve presidency. I think she should get out this spotlight and focus on her family. Remember she has another daughter. She's a bore to hear about. She has the same old puppet rhetoric. More than half of America is convincend that she's an uneducated ninkapoop. Move one to more pressing issues. Like what govt is doing to create jobs and boost our economy.

    April 13, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  18. Blue

    We are so fortunate to a brilliant man as pesident. This country cannot take another president that is not capable of handling the job.

    April 13, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  19. Michael

    Well, my faith in the mental stability of the American public is at least partially restored.
    69% say Palin is not qualified to be president – probably the remaining 31% are the same uneducated religious fanatics who would vote for Huckleberry.
    There is still hope for our great nation!

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

    The most amazing thing about this poll is that Ron Paul is included! For years the man has been marginalized and ignored. Keep it up Dr. Paul. They are listening now.

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

    Palin is sucking the life out of the GOP she is sucking the life out of the other canidates, she is divideing the Republican Party ..... you all say that the Democrats are afraid of Palin......that is so untrue.....it is the Republican Party that is afraid of her and doesn't have what it takes to tell her where to get off.......so be it......come 2012 we will see another 4 years for Obama.......

    April 13, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  22. don

    if GOP wants to have real chance to matchup with Mr. Obama, Palin would be the last person they should consider.

    April 13, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  23. rosey petals

    Why does the media continue this chirade and propoganda, Palin vs. the President. What is the subtle, subliminal psychology. Is it to marginalize the president or an attempt to elevate this woman. It is a no brainer at most. It may stroke her ego but does nothing avout her real worth as a so-called leader. She is a good cheer leader but, no substance, and not a good candidate, keep writing answers in your hand Palin, that's how you do it. The qualified member women in Congress, who are at the top of their game has to be in shock of the idea, that this woman runs around with a mike in her hands, scaring the daylights out of everyone with her slanted rhetoric.

    April 13, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  24. MikeH

    This has got to be the most trashy thing I have ever seen CNN do.

    I noticed no reporter put their name on this article, out of extreme embarrassment I'll bet. The CNN Editor responsible for this being posted should be re-assigned to buiding waste management.

    I know lets do a poll on Joe the Plumber vs Obama, just to see how many crazies go for Joe.

    C'mon folks, lets put up al the most outlandish opponents against Obama and ask CNN to run a poll for each.

    April 13, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  25. Ruth

    Please tell me Palin coming in third is a joke.Who in their right mind would vote for this moron? The idiot of the world comes in third? What has happened to America? That would be like voting for Rush Limbaugh! The secon d idiot of the world-followed by Glenn Beck and Hannity. America has gone to the dogs. Literally.

    April 13, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
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