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. Dar

    Huckabee plays bass. Now that is cool. And he supported a creative approach to addressing income taxes. That is a plus. (Though I think it would backfire.) However, he is too caught up in his holy war thinking for many of us Christians.

    None of these numbers are really surprises except for Ron Paul. For Ron Paul to get 8% in this kind of poll this early is amazing. Something is going on.

    If both run, Chuck Norris will be in an awkward position. He endorsed Huckabee for the 2008 nomination but has been a vocal fan of Paul since the nomination.

    April 13, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  2. KD

    The sadness of this poll...

    42% of those polled think Sara Palin is qualified to be President (but wait 69 percent say she is not qualified to be president.), especially given her atrocious comments on the US/Russian Arms treaty, the fact she hasn't a coherent policy statement outside of criticizing Obama's hard work, and thinks that bad analogies somehow make bad positions pallatable... oh wait... they do to the FOX news crowd.

    Even sadder... "at least a quarter of all Americans are unfamiliar with Romney, Huckabee and Gingrich" They ran last time! Wasn't that two years ago? Huckabee even stayed in it too long and Romney was a front runner! Gingrich.. speaker of the house and Repbulican icon.

    The party of NO seems to be the party on NO CANDIDATE. Shows what happens when your platform is just oppose everything and stand for nothing but fear. Fear does not attract, it divides.

    April 13, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  3. Donna from Colorado Springs

    I would certainly hope that most intelligent people in this country would not choose Palin to run anything, let alone this country! What would happen if, let's say, President Palin would get a wild hair and decide to leave office in mid-term? Think about it people!

    April 13, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. Hawk in texas

    You mean that 15% of the republicans are insane.i thought it might be at least 85%.

    April 13, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  5. David

    Hey Palin: I love my hopey/changey thing. Thanks for asking ! I'm

    April 13, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. I am a cunservutif tee bagur

    All yoo stoopid librals well reely be in trubble in 2012 when Sarah Palin beets Burack Obamer an becums prezident. I will vot for hur just like Rush Limbaw and Shaun Hanitee and Ann Colder teeched me to do on their fox news shows and then that soshalest Obamer wil be lookin fer a noo job. Doo yoo peeple think i am smartur than a too turm govurnur?

    April 13, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. Elliot in texas

    I am not sure why the presidential ranking is such a big deal. Obama has stopped the unemployment rate from going further and it is starting come back down. People have recovered most of the money they lost in 401Ks under Bush. We are getting a treaty to reduce nuclear stockpiles and we are securing loose nukes. Healthcare while contentious has so many good things in it that Republicans are saying repeal/replace because they don't want to actually repeal it. The foul taste the Republicans left in our collective mouths is still there. Why would we bring them back???

    April 13, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. Yasmine

    if your poll showed Palin beat President Obama your headline would make sure to emphasize that ...but because its the other way around...the info on the results in barried in the article..

    shameful....CNN you do pick sides...its always on the right!

    April 13, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  9. Bryan

    This is BS.
    Ron Paul beat Romney at CPAC.

    Why is CNN still trying to keep Ron Paul bad mouthed.

    Wait until he runs again.

    These other guys and idiot Palin will get smoked.

    Ron Paul the CHAMPION of the Constitution.
    The modern day Thomas Jefferson.

    RON PAUL 2012

    CHEW ON THAT CNN

    April 13, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  10. Ancient Texan

    This poll at this particular point in time is worse than meaningless. In the 2 1/2 years before the elections, Someone not mentioned in this poll could well come to the forefront and beat Obama by double digits. Or one of the weakest of those mentioned could be elevated to the dominate front runner. But either way, Obama will be most desired to be a one term president by the American People.

    April 13, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. kathy

    That imbecile of a woman is an embarrassment to this country. I just wish she would go away. She's pathetic!!!!

    April 13, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  12. Kate

    Pres. Obama=qualified to be President, intelligent, knowledgeable
    Palin-=not qualified, ignorant, not knowledgeable

    April 13, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  13. Seattle Girl

    Thank God there are people out there with some sense. Obama/Biden 2012!!

    April 13, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  14. Larry

    That's funnny!

    Palin consistently beats Newt "The Mouth" Gingrich in polls.

    To think Palin could even challenge Obama is a farce.

    Huckabee gets 24% from his party?

    Do you Republicans even have a candidate?

    April 13, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  15. Thomas

    CNN ,
    you wast your time with such a absurd and ridicules poll?

    Wait till she is on dancing with the stars , then take your poll ?

    April 13, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  16. Gary

    Whether you agree with Sarah Palin's views or not, you are out of your mind if you really think she'll win any high-level election, in November 2012 or any other time. Popularity does not equal effectiveness. As for Romney and Huckabee, I am happy to see them finally get some recognition because they are far more astute than Palin with carving out real solutions on the national and global fronts. Palin is a one-woman show. I just hope as a country we can quickly pull our heads out of the sand and realize what Obama has said all along – that it will take ALL of us making sacrifices to right the ship.

    April 13, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  17. MR AMERICA, average American

    The fact that Palin is even on such a list exposes the stupidity of republicans.

    We saw how the "average joe" did as a president. The "below average jane" would do far worse.

    April 13, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  18. LYNETTE IN CA

    Palin will never be President. She can barely spell it!

    April 13, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  19. john

    if she were even so much as elected dog catcher...."Oh Canada" would be this kid's new national anthem.

    April 13, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  20. Jeff

    What a ridiculous story... 1000 people is not even statistically significant, consequently the results are not considered valid. CNN and their "political directors" should simply change the name to DNN.

    April 13, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  21. PTO

    The Copmmies News Network spews propaganda again; nothing here. All this is a lie that they wish to propagate to the American people, in the hope they will be fooled.

    The guy who thinks that there are 57 States in the Union, who thinks that 3,000% savings will accrue with Health Care, who thinks that there's an Austrian language (among other "intelligent" comments he has made) isn't going to win in 2012 and everybody knows it.

    Question is: will he resign before then?

    April 13, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  22. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Oh brother........... are you kidding? OF COURSE President Obama would win by a mile........ if not more, if the GOP puts Palin up for president. The GOP knows better.

    April 13, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  23. VernisRobertson

    CNN you guys funny. Why would even put some crap like this out their.What ever happen to reporting the news not you thoughts or survey's.

    April 13, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  24. Chris - Denver

    I am so tired of the conservative-biased media pretending that Sarah Palin is a legitimate contender to be the president. Give it a rest, already.

    April 13, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  25. Jay T.

    "Palin is popular in the South and rural areas." Oh, you mean the areas of the country where racism and illiteracy are the most prevalent. Who'd have guessed?

    April 13, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
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