November 18th, 2010
09:08 AM ET
3 years ago

Palin says she can win, but faces uphill climb

(CNN) – Sarah Palin wants to make one thing clear: contrary to the opinions of many Beltway Republicans, she can beat President Obama in a 2012 matchup.

But a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll indicates Palin has a steeper climb than many other leading Republicans when it comes to winning the Oval Office.

"I believe so," Palin said during an interview for an upcoming Barbara Walters special, when asked if she thought she could defeat the sitting president. "I'm looking at the lay of the land now, and ... trying to figure that out, if it's a good thing for the country, for the discourse, for my family, if it's a good thing."

Still, should Palin throw her hat in the ring, she will have some work to do. Unlike most of those in the likely Republican presidential field, she is a well a known national figure, even a celebrity. This can of course be a considerable advantage over candidates who will have to spend millions of dollars and painstaking effort to get their name out.

But in Palin's case, almost half of all Americans have already formed a negative opinion about her – the same hurdle that the- Sen. Hillary Clinton faced as she was considering a White House bid in 2006 and 2007. In the most recent CNN poll, 49 percent of respondents said they had an unfavorable opinion of the former Alaska governor while 40 percent said they had a favorable opinion.

Things look even more grim for Palin when it comes to a head-to-head matchup with Obama: the poll showed Palin trailing by 8 points, 52-44 percent - a performance that is considerably weaker than other possible 2012 contenders.

In fact, the same poll showed former presidential candidate Mitt Romney leading Obama by 5 points, 50-45 percent, Mike Huckabee, another former presidential candidate, ahead of Obama by 8 points, 52-44 percent, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich behind Obama by only 2 points, 49-47 percent. Full results (pdf)

Of course, just ask President Obama how long two years in politics is. These days, Americans' opinions change faster than polls can be conducted, and in the upcoming New York Times Magazine profile of Palin, one advisor sounds a confident tone that a few strong primary debate performances will easily change Palin's favorability numbers:

"Look, everyone has an opinion about Sarah Palin," John Coale, a friend and advisor to Palin told the magazine. "But suppose when she starts doing the debates during the primaries, she knocks it out of the park. That would cause an entirely different view of things, wouldn't it?"

The CNN poll surveyed 1,006 Americans by telephone between October 27-30 and carries an overall sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Filed under: President Obama • Sarah Palin
soundoff (198 Responses)
  1. Texas Doc

    You can do it! Run baby run!

    November 18, 2010 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  2. greenhands

    hahaha ya right...that's all we need another dumb republican president.

    November 18, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  3. Bill

    Reality TV Star Sarah Palin?! Well, at least she's qualified!

    November 18, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  4. Seattle Sue

    If she runs, it will be like another Christine O'Donnell loss. People will not vote for just a pretty face.

    November 18, 2010 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  5. giantsmets

    As a conservative, I urge her to stay out of the way in 2012!

    November 18, 2010 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  6. Former Republican - Now Independent

    Well, if she can see Russia from her front porch, it should be a cinch for Ms. Palin to see the top of that mountain she must climb.

    Let's hope she tries, gets the GOP nod and runs against Obama;, I'd like to see Grandma Grizzlyr lose another presidential election for the current crop of Republicans. Then, just maybe, we would be rid of her.

    November 18, 2010 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  7. mary r

    It's good to know that she is capable of thinking

    November 18, 2010 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  8. GDMS.REPUBLICAN

    She can and will BEAT Barrack Obama and you can take that to the bank. She will become one of our best Presidents ever.

    November 18, 2010 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  9. Rich in NJ

    Yes, I suppose that if Palin were to have strong debate performances it would change some minds, but when did scientists start performing brain transplants?

    November 18, 2010 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  10. Britannia

    Should not this article be included in the "Entertainment" section of this publication instead of the "Political" one?

    November 18, 2010 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  11. Expat American

    The only one who believes Palin can win…is first of all Palin….and those few die-hard others who support her; who undoubtedly are as untraveled, unintelligent, unworldly and just as bigoted, close-minded and stupid as she is.
    While the world continues to laugh at the United States for giving this redneck slack jaw a soap box.
    Will old angry white racists still throw dollar bills at her after she is crushed? Hope is they won’t, and then finally she will go away.

    November 18, 2010 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  12. lakerman

    Please run, Sarah, run! Dash Mitch McConnell's sole purpose of making President Obama a "one term president."

    November 18, 2010 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  13. DownTownBrown

    "But suppose when she starts doing the debates during the primaries, she knocks it out of the park. That would cause an entirely different view of things, wouldn't it?"

    Yes, let's suppose she magically developes intelligence and can actually talk without sounding so stupid.
    If you can't handle a Katie Couric interview, you ain't makin' it hon.
    Go back to shooting wolves from the safety of a helicopter you coward.

    November 18, 2010 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  14. Modern Family

    When will this simpleton moron from a small town just go away? She's not intelligent enough to be dog catcher.

    November 18, 2010 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  15. James Brooklyn N.Y.

    I hope she wins the primary. That will guarantee no republican president in 2012. I get polled all the time and I always say yes I want her to run, Yes I think she can win and yes I like her. Of course I will never vote for her. I even changed my party to republican from independent so I can vote in their primaries.

    November 18, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  16. Janosik

    Don't be idiots America. Just ignore this woman.

    November 18, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  17. Grog in Ohio

    A far more interesting question is: What in the world are the 40% with a positive opinion of Palin seeing that the rest of us are not?.... or perhaps what they THINK they're seeing.

    November 18, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  18. JB21

    The last news, she was thinking, which really was a news. This news goes to show us, her ability to think rationally is just about the level of a fence post. Surely that doesn't make a fence post smart, either.

    November 18, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  19. Bob, Virginia

    John Coale appears to be on crack. Palin is not capable of "knocking it out of the park" during debates.

    November 18, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  20. Knucklehead61

    "suppose when she starts doing the debates during the primaries, she knocks it out of the park." Right. And if I run a 4.4 40 yard dash I'll be playing in the NFL next week.

    Doesn't that mean she'll have to respond to the actual questions the moderator asks?

    November 18, 2010 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  21. liz

    The woman is delusional. She has all her little phrases and winks, but has no clue what the job of the President even is. She has no education, no natural curiosity or intelligence, no experience and is nothing but a big haired joke. It is like she wants to win the popularity contest, but then when the prize is a job, she quits, like a spoiled child. After she cost McCain the election I would be shocked if the GOP ran with her again, but then again it would mean almost certain victory for the Dems, so could be a good thing.

    November 18, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  22. AEK

    Unfortunately for Ms. Palin, part of her psychosis is a very warped perception of her own importance. National polls consistantly reflect the fact that a majority of Americans DO NOT feel she is intelligent enough, or at the very least, educated enough, to lead our country through the many complex issues facing us. Even Republican politicians and her buddies at Fox News make fun of her behind her back, go figure! But like most Republicans, she feels if she says something loud enough or long enough she will convince a segment of the population susceptible to that. But, we learned from Mr. Bush, Jr. what Lincoln preached years ago, "all of the people some of the time..."

    November 18, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  23. Nidwaldner

    From the Mayo Clinic: Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, need for admiration, extreme self-involvement, and lack of empathy for others. Individuals with this disorder are usually arrogantly self-assured and confident. They expect to be noticed as superior. Many highly successful individuals might be considered narcissistic. However, this disorder is only diagnosed when these behaviors become persistent and very disabling or distressing. Sound like anyone?

    November 18, 2010 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  24. don

    This last Palin comment was for those who still don't beleive she is THAT delusional. Yes, folks, she is!

    November 18, 2010 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  25. RickD

    This so called woman needs to crawl back under her rock!!

    November 18, 2010 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
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