November 18th, 2010
09:08 AM ET
4 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. EddyL

    Ambitious, greedy, and stupid. Not the winning combination of a presidential candidate. Only the lunatic fringe of the right wing would support this moron.

    November 18, 2010 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  2. urfellowman

    Please oh please oh please! I'll switch to republican before the GOP primaries to get her party nomination and switch back before the presidential election. To us Dems... we'd love you to run! Please oh please oh please!

    November 18, 2010 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  3. Paul

    Palin can't even get her Senate pick elected in Alaska. She's got zero chance of being president of anything other than Dancing With The Stars.

    November 18, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  4. Tam

    Re the headline of this - no kiddin'? Delusional, dumb, and destructive. How has America fallen so low? All because they're mad there's a black guy in the White House? So better a dumb, unintelligent, whacko white guy or gal, than a smart, intelligent, classy black guy?

    November 18, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  5. lgny

    These stories are asking the wrong question. It's not "can she win?" but "can she govern?"

    Does she have the ability to negotiate complex treaties with foreign powers? Does she have the ability to craft national policy? Can she negotiate? ....

    While the president appoints advisors to do the detail work, the president must set their overall direction, understand their advice, and make choices among their recommendations.

    From what she's demonstrated so far, she would set a dramatic new low in presidential quality.

    November 18, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  6. Alina77

    What's is the most horrible that CNN compared Palin's rating to Hillary. This is outrage. CNN don't you dare to compare bird brains and Clinton! No wonder why I stopped watching you.

    November 18, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  7. willie floyd

    Is she not even smart enough to realize without the full support of the Reps. plus having all Dems. against her it's more likely there will be a greater chance of 10 ft. of snow in Haiti than her becoming POTUS? She's so dumb I almost feel sorry for her-ALMOST.

    Unlikely to get posted as usual....

    November 18, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  8. CMG

    I have heard Silly Sarah on more than one occasion reference, "I must study the lay of the land." Interesting but once again a vague comment. I also recently heard her reference that she isn't avoiding any news network as she is on Fox, Facebook, and Twitter. How interesting that you would avoid those news people who see you for who you are and likely would challenge and subsequently humiliate you during any one on one discussion. We all remember Katie Couric. I know, it wouldn't look good if people were finally able to see how little knowledge you really have. "Uphill battle" is almost a joke. Maybe your next book should be entitled, "Mother of the Year." Your children certainly have made the news recently, and I suspect it is all that good parental mentoring.

    November 18, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  9. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    I am not going to comment on her knowledge or abilities for a change. Instead I want to comment on something else. They say you can really judge a person by their smile. A person who is sincere smiles not just with their mouth but with their eyes. Look at her eyes when she "smiles". There is no warmth there, only the cold cunning of someone who is out for themselves and to the devil with everyone else. Her smile scares me almost as much as her ignorance.

    November 18, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  10. Cris

    CNN how about some copy editing – HURDLE not HURTLE faced by Clinton.

    November 18, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  11. Annie, Atlanta

    I would love for someone to ask her what she thinks about the Republicans in congress yesterday voting against equal pay for equal work for women. And I would love to know how men and women in that party think this is good for them. First off, why hire a man when you can get a woman for 77 cents on the dollar? Secondly, women, what are you thinking sticking with a party that thinks you (along with LGBT, and all minorities) aren't equal? Just amazing how stupid we've become.

    November 18, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  12. once upon a horse

    there was once a time in America where a person like Sarah Palin who quit her elected position mid-stream, seems to create her own "facts", has problems with speaking basic English correctly, has no plan on how to even govern, and above all doesn't seem to be very bright would not even be considered to be POTUS less known be a top candidate. HOWEVER, times have changed. For some reason now in our country it appears that if a person is formally educated and somewhat bright they are looked upon as a snob and elite not one of the people. Folks prefer the folksy "he's one of us" candidates and that's fine to an extent but they tend to overlook if these type can govern or not. If the attitudes of our nation are about the same in 2012 we could possibly see a President Palin....we may regret it however as we did with a folksy Jimmy Carter but it is possible.

    November 18, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  13. chris24

    to quote bush 2 (who would have ever thought)

    BRING IT ON!!!!

    November 18, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  14. ezra

    "while 40 percent said they had a favorable opinion." 40% !!!! You have to be kidding me, this cannot be correct – if 40% of people in this country have a favorable opinion of that air-headed self-promoter we are in more trouble than I thought we were. How did Americans become so stupid?

    November 18, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  15. rbhbear@aol.com

    " She knocks it out of the park...?" Please – Palin can't even utter an original thought or complete sentence. Once tea baggers realize – like the rest of us already have – that she can only speak in cliches ("you betcha, mama grizzly") those positive numbers will be taking a nosedive.

    November 18, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  16. dkgolfer

    Run Sarah Run!!!!!! You're the only person that can guarantee Obama another term in office.

    November 18, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  17. DC2003

    "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..."
    Yeah right!
    Palin with knowledge of nothing ... who can't even do a real interview to discuss real events and real policy ...
    attend an open debate ... not gonna happen!

    November 18, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  18. maf

    What's a "hurtle"? Shouldn't that be "hurdle"?

    Go ahead Sarah! Run, baby, run. What a delusional, egomaniac!!

    No thanks to you John McCain, for bringing this vacuous narcissist to the stage!!

    November 18, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  19. Realistic

    Ok first, she would never have a debate that she could knock it out of the ballpark. She will of course start doing her winks and finger pointing(like a gun) and than start stumbling all over the place. She does not have the intelligence to be president. People would be reminded how she just pulled anchor and quit her job as governor. People would actually be told when she was governor of Alaska, she spent money like a drunken sailor. People would be reminded of the her pick for senator, remember the Christine O'D and angle and miller and her looney views. And all her dumb tweets and so on....Palin would put President Obama back in the WH for another 4 years. And if you really look at her, she always has the 'deer caught in the headlights look".....Palin go away.....Please go away for the good of the country...

    November 18, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  20. Ryan

    No, just no. If she won the primary it would ensure a second term for Obama.

    November 18, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  21. Armando

    Palin becomes President, I'm moving to another country and taking my money with me. She would make America the laughing stock of the world.

    November 18, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  22. Dale

    "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?"

    –> You know, like she did with Katie Couric? Or maybe like when she did the vice-presidential debate and basically told the moderator she wasn't even going to try to answer the questions? She was accused of not answering the question and she said "I am just here to talk to the American People."

    Ok, people, if you vote for this empty vessel Palin, you get what you deserve. And you can applogize to your kids when you visit their graves in Arlington. GWB was a warmonger, but Palin would be even worse.

    November 18, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  23. Armando

    Cute, witty "one liners" doesn't qualify you for President or anybody for that matter.

    November 18, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  24. E1atoM

    Ahhh! The delusions of grandeur...

    November 18, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  25. What is the country coming to

    Yet right beat him to the bathroom with all the bull shit. She is sick and dump. No one really likes her, that just want a laugh.
    She is a class clown.....who is making money off the ones that are not to smart. .....she is a FAKE..................don't care about anything except the all mighty green Bully on board!.

    November 18, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
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