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. stufit

    I believe she can win. With the leftists and their lap dog media becoming more vicious toward her and her family, it is having the same effect as the liberal madness and name calling did on the 2010 election. They demeaned, degraded and demonized the Republicans and the hard working, taxpaying citizens of this country and it turned on them.

    November 18, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  2. deb0155

    Sarah Palin is very misguided about running for President. She is NOT presidential material – she is more of a talk show host! If the Republicans nominate her to run against Obama – they will lose. So, I am hoping that the Republicans nominate someone who is qualified, experienced, and is presidential. The United States is in catastrophic times and we do not need a bobblehead running the show! We need a leader! Unfortunately, we Americans also are very misguided about nominating presidential candidates – we have been going on "charisma" versus leadership, experience, and what is lacking most in government – dignity and honor! I can only hope that both parties will nominate people who really represent the American people and what our Constitution stands for!

    November 18, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  3. Maddy

    I never much cared for Hillary but after listening to Palin, Hillary is my new best friend.
    I swear if Palin wins, I am moving to Australia.

    November 18, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  4. bob

    Since when does a liberal CNN poll mean anything to a presidential race?

    November 18, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  5. V

    She's delusional. No way this dysfunctional hypocrite could win over Obama. America is not that dumb. If she were to run and (god forbid) win, I would leave the Country until sanity was regained.

    November 18, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  6. Jay

    This woman is playing everyone for fools. And the gullible media and especially her significantly stupid followers can't get that through their damn heads. Tragic shame that an idiot like this commands this much undeserved attention and will get really rich off the stupidity of people.

    Even sadder is how a genuinely good man like Obama faces so much opposition doing good things and obstructionist/fear mongering/war starting/deficit creating Republicans get elected into office with fools such as Palin and Bush as their leaders.

    Sad that we must sink with these fools also when they cause the collapse of this great country.

    November 18, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Palin is already complaining the media is unfair to her, can you imagine how she would complain about being asked questions that she can't answer in a debate and that's why she's running from the media now. She's even trying to get out of being vetted by saying President Obama was never vetted, which of course is a lie.

    November 18, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  8. Pasta Fazooli

    CNN,.. cut the crap with these polls, and daily doses of excrement about Palin. .. she will not run,..she's sown the seed because the media fertlized it, and it's the only way she can remain in the loop, and delusionally make herself appear still relevant.

    November 18, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  9. paul

    If she ran for president, would she have to talk to the "lame street media" or would her presidential run be limited to FOX news???? Can she run the country by staying in Alaska and making decisions via "twitter"? Can she talk with world leaders by using soundbites and talking points???? She has a loooooonnngggg way to go.

    November 18, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. BD70

    Palin debate? Bhwahahahahahahha! She can't even explain in an intelligent way why she thinks she could beat Obama. Looking at the lay of the land? lmao...ok if she runs and she loses can she go away forever then?

    November 18, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  11. Snow

    The way the lame brained media has attacked Governor Palin it is a wonder her poll numbers are this high. If obama was attacked by the same lame brained media for his stupidity,gaffs and miscues he favorables would be in the 20's. obama has a harder road to travel to reelection than Governor Palin has in getting elected. Governor Palin cleaned bidens clock in her debate with him, so I think she can do pretty well debating.

    November 18, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  12. Enough is Enough

    I have been a republician all my life and have never missed an election, if she runs I will stay home. She is the single biggest reason we now have the worst president in U.S. history in the White House.

    November 18, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  13. JustMe

    "...one advisor sounds a confident tone that a few strong primary debate performances will easily change Palin's favorability numbers ..."

    Has this guy completely forgotten her debate performances in 2008?? Dan Quayle debates better than her.

    November 18, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  14. Norman

    Although I like Sarah Palin, her comment about 'beating Obama' isn't really relevant. Right now, Elmer Fudd could beat Obama.

    November 18, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  15. ohhiya

    A palin run could actually turn texas back into a blue state. (well, to late for it's state government, it left the blue last decade)

    November 18, 2010 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  16. hank kelly

    This woman isn't even qualified to be dog catcher. Why are we even having this conversation? She's nasty, bitter, mean, petty. Her latest book attacks her grandson's father. Does that sound like presedential material? Paris Hilton is more qualified to be President.

    November 18, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  17. Mike Olson

    Sarah Palin's opinion of herself should be disturbing to everyone including Republicans. America has to get back on track when it comes to our political leaders. We don't need another American Idol president. That is what Barack Obama is and if elected Palin will be the same if not worse. America has to stop voting for candidates based purely on popularity.
    There should be a mandatory law that states you have to of served a minimum of two complete terms in your previous office before you are allowed to run for the presidency. That way America would have a record of the candidates ability and job performance Also an IQ test wouldn't be a bad idea either. If Sarah Palin thinks she can get to the White House by being the supposed voice of middle-class America she is sadly mistaken. She needs to be able to name some of the papers and magazines she reads! No American regardless of political affiliation wants their president to look like a dolt on the world stage. Obama is that now and Palin would be worse.
    Remember there was a reasonably intelligent person running for president three years ago but now she runs the state
    department.

    November 18, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  18. AEJ

    Tweedle dumb and tweedle-dee Palin.

    November 18, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  19. SayWhat

    This woman's delusions of grandeur are truly of clinical proportion. She has a better chance of being the next Pope than she has of ever being the Presiden,t or of holding any other office than head of th "I love Sarah Palin Club".

    November 18, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  20. kjay

    Can't wait for the honest debates to start, all the bashing comes to an end, real question will have to answered with facts and honesty, then all of america can decide for themselves.

    November 18, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  21. Matt

    My real concern would be who her vice president would be. Because we all know that about half way through her term she'd get bored, realize there wasn't much money in the presidency, and quit to be on dancing with the stars.

    November 18, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  22. Fernando

    LOL. She is more polarizing than Hilary Clinton and she expects to win? Go ahead repubs put her as your front runner. Way to throw the election.

    November 18, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  23. KDirty

    I find it supremely interesting that Palin's biggest criticism of President Obama was that he was more celebrity than politician. Then she quit her job as governor and hit the TV circuits.

    If most Palin followers (which is not to say all Republicans) didn't have such short-term, selective memory, I'd find it funny. Unfortunately, hypocrisy is their strong suit.

    Two years truly is virtually an eternity in politics, so President Obama could have considerably different favorability ratings in 2012. I would vote for President Obama's re-election, I must be honest, but I do consider myself someone who's open to discussion and the exchange of ideas. I don't hate Republicans or throw around partisan slurs. But I must say, I'd vote for ANYONE before Palin.

    November 18, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  24. LovesIrony

    she QUIT her job as governor. That is what anyone running against her will hammer her on, and that's enough.

    November 18, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  25. mavsrcheap

    Sarah Palin (and possibly Donald Trump) will bring "star power" to the first Republican Presidential Debate coming up in March at the Ronald Reagan Library. The debate should have the largest television audience of any such event ever. Many Americans will be exposed to individuals with true Presidential Qualifications (Sarah Palin not being one of them), and it should be a great boost to Republican Presidential prospects in 2012.

    November 18, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
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