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. Mary Kay

    Oh, for the love of God, Alaska and Discovery Channel – please let her run.

    April 13, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  2. Avi Shlomo

    Wow CNN lost its marble. This is an Oxymoron poll. Even CNN wants to promote idiocy by conducting this poll and keeping low IQ Palin on the news. I suppose hunger, health care, occupation etc are not news that they have to make something.

    April 13, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  3. Baby Boomer

    I hope she runs. President Obama would surely get a 2nd term if that happens. And as for Haley Barbour, what a loser. Hope he runs too...

    April 13, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  4. Tim

    She's still smarter than the person who is now president, by far.

    April 13, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  5. T'SAH from Virginia

    CNN – Please stop PUSHING Palin to run for President. She is NOT interested – she NEVER was after she LOST the VP bid. Her goal is to make as much money as she can by spreading LIES and stirring up hatred among her BASE... She will reamin a 'celebrity' and that's that!!!!

    April 13, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. colts_tiger

    lets face it she's an idiot!

    April 13, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  7. Craig

    Sarah Palin has no qualifications to be POTUS. She is mere eye candy. If Sarah looked like Harriet Miers she be washing dishes at a cheap diner in Wasilla.

    April 13, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  8. Discount Assassin

    Hey, why don't you put Obama against me?
    I'm a private citizen! I haven't influence the politics
    of this country.

    April 13, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. Terry B., Lexington Ky

    Am thinking ANYBODY would post a "double digit" win against Palin. I hope she does run, get the nomination and the question can be asked and answered once and for all. Palins only "legendary status" is in her own mind....

    April 13, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  10. jerseylou

    WHAT,CNN where are you conducting these polls on the Appalachian Mountains? This thing that you call palin can't even read,write,talk or think and you got the nerve to mention her along side of him as being presidential.What are you trying to do make the President look bad on the down low.

    April 13, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "That's the least he can do, particularly after he pulled the rug out from under the Polish government a few months ago when he canceled the long-planned ballistic missile defense system."

    Right, because signing a historic major strategic unclear arms treaty with Russia that will help de-escalate the race for nuclear arms and garner Russia's trust and support in trying to control rogue nations...that's WAY more damaging than planting an "I dare you" sign in Poland.

    April 13, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  12. normajean

    There are those who try to claim that Sarah Palin has as much experience in the political world due to her limited time as govenor of Alaska., as our current President has in his career. They are very confused and under informed. If they would take the time to explore, {even check Google} they would find out that as a Senator in Illinois,our president Obama was off to a good start in the political scene,and worked on any number of legistrated issues. He was as qualified to run as were most of our previous candidates and given time and a fair shake, he will prove himself worthy of the office.I have been around a long time and have seen administrations come and go,some good,some bad. but they need more than one and a half years to prove themselves.

    April 13, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  13. Bettie

    she shouldnt even be in the poll comparing her with obama. why are we discussing her for candidate? she doesn't belong in that catagory period. it like rush limb for presdient..how stupid is that ? it goes the same for palin

    April 13, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    Edit:

    "That's the least he can do, particularly after he pulled the rug out from under the Polish government a few months ago when he canceled the long-planned ballistic missile defense system."

    Right, because signing a historic major strategic NUCLEAR arms treaty with Russia that will help de-escalate the race for nuclear arms and garner Russia's trust and support in trying to control rogue nations...that's WAY more damaging than planting an "I dare you" sign in Poland.

    ha...mispelling "nuclear" as "unclear" is almost as ironic as mispelling "cooperation" as "corporation"

    April 13, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  15. jordan

    They're both pretty dumb, thats my 2 cents.

    April 13, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  16. Bettie

    i guess CNN is running out iof story for outting a title like " obama vs palin" com on have some dignity

    April 13, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  17. Wayne

    I'd pick Joan Rivers over Sarah Palin!

    April 13, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  18. Diana

    Don't tell the Republicans. Palin would guarantee a second term for Obama. I don't really think they have anybody who could beat him in 2012. Read that the deficit has gone down a little today.
    OBAMA 2012!

    April 13, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  19. andrewstl

    run sarah run you ignorant fool!

    April 13, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  20. abe

    What a comparison. People who even think that Palin is in the league with the president must be crazy or has no political understanding. I think the public who supports Palin must have the same level of political knowledge of the world. like I said before Palin needs to take Politics 101. CNN should be ashamed to even think of taking a poll. She is a nobody but a person trying to make a name for herself by running around with the tea party and chastise the president. She did not even help John McCain so what made you think is she can give the president a run for the presidency.

    April 13, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  21. normajean

    I wouldn't take the polls too seriously. I've never been polled and don't know anyone who has including friends and family.

    April 13, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  22. sonia morales

    "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."

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME????

    I find this article very bias since CNN is known to be Pro Obama. The question is would you have printed the information if it had not been favorable to President Obama. My guess is "No"! Have yet to see a "fair and balance" artilce on CNN's website.

    April 13, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  23. Bettie

    CNN run out of story for putting " obama vs palin" com on!

    April 13, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  24. You've go to be kidding

    "... and 69 percent say she is not qualified to be president..."

    Whatever the other 31% are abusing, please send some along because it must be really, really good to cloud your judgement to the level that you think she is qualified.

    Oh but wait! That's right! She can see Russia from her back yard...

    April 13, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  25. Bob (Illinois)

    What relevance does a silly poll like this have?

    CNN, you should stop spending money for this garbage and hire some more JOURNALISTS!

    April 13, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
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