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. Chris

    As a Republican I would be embarrassed to have her win the nomination. She is just another Geraldine Ferraro. It was a last ditch effort by McCain to capture more woman voters. Now all we see is her face all over the place like some kind of a sick joke. Please Republicans end her chances now before we are overwhelmed by the news media. Sorry, we are already overwhelmed.

    November 18, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  2. blake

    Ms. Palin you cannot win. Every poll out there indicates that neither you nor Gingrich is electable. Make this about getting Obama out of office and a conservative intalled in his place. Not about your personal dreams. And please show some integrity. Everyone in the U.S. who has paid any attention knows that you have been gunning for the presidency for the past two years. You are not just now considering the run, if there is a need.

    November 18, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  3. mightyfudge

    The only way Palin "knocks it out of the park" in a debate is if the other contestants are empty chairs... and she would still need the questions in advance.

    November 18, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  4. DVA

    Sarah Palin should do what she does best, pose for the camera. With her in-house problems, I would think she would concentrate on family matters (however, no monetary gain in that). Running for president takes more than quirky little quotes and snide insults. School yard bullies can do that. She does this along with her conservative pundits. This is not what or who this country needs. Our children need real education, not reality shows that are scripted and not at all how most Americans live. This country deserves better than what she has to offer.

    November 18, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  5. Chris~Albany, NY

    Of course she's gonna say that. What? People think she's gonna go on national TV and say nahhh he'll kick my arse! Yea right. She's dead meat and she knows it.

    November 18, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  6. harvey 60

    Palin's going to knock it out of the park in a debate? What park? How about Gorky Park? She won't even know where it is.

    November 18, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  7. Willie12345

    Palin can be a wonderful spokeswoman for her cause, but should not run for office. Her lack of real experience is unacceptable.

    November 18, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. Noocrat

    ...in a salmon fishing contest.

    November 18, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  9. John

    I'm faaaaaar far far far far FAR from a fan of Palin, but an article referencing a poll from April of this year, fully 7 months old, is NOT a good basis for predicting current trends, much less 2012 trends. I mean, that same poll had Obama up 4 points, and that's not his polling right now. Run a new poll, and write an article after that.

    November 18, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  10. Mike C

    I do not like the current state of our government, but Sarah Palin would not get my vote in the 2012 election. Regardless of what she promises or spins during the election process, there is one simple point of her past that I cannot get beyond. She was elected to be Governor of Alaska and chose to step down before her term was completed. I've heard her explaination of why she left office, but it doesnt fly with me. The bottom line is, she quit! She took an oath of office and bailed on the people of Alaska. I do not want the leader of this country to be someone who cannot fulfill their commitments. If she can walk away in Alaska, she can walk away from other tough situations as well.

    November 18, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  11. ruaripadraig

    "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?"

    NOT!!!!!!!!

    November 18, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  12. Gayle

    Please run you dimwit it should be real funny. I would love to see how she would fair with the good old boys in the Republican Party who were nice to her when she was with John McCain. Oh they would tear her apart. Can you imagine the debates, oh my gosh that would be a hoot.

    November 18, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  13. Steve Oehmen

    It's very simple – Sarah will never run for POTUS. Never. She can't get the nomination and she can't afford the salary cut. But if she doesn't continue to threaten and posture (marketing), the brand can't remain viable and that would be the end of the income stream for her.

    November 18, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  14. Don from Sacramento

    If the Republicans choose to run Sarah Palin it will, in effect, be handing Obama a second term!

    November 18, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  15. a little sad

    "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 agree, since the other candidates won't have to climb over dead bodies from both parties.

    November 18, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  16. BGN

    What's that phrase they use in Brooklyn???

    November 18, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  17. Jim

    Will she quit 2 years into her administration? Just wondering, since that's her history. I do hope she runs, and thus we will get to see the lying, deceptive person she really is.

    November 18, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  18. KEVIN

    Sarah Plain and Simple minded you will never be President, Plain and Simple.

    November 18, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  19. devildog020528

    Come on really, Palin as President? She cost McCain the Presidency how is she going to win? This is a woman who wanted to build a multi-million dollar bridge to nowhere with like 40 residents on the island. God help our budget if she gets the Presidency.

    November 18, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  20. devildog020528

    Actually, I don't even think there were 40 people on the island, but I will give it the benefit of the doubt! We don't need someone who doesn't know politics! Newt Gingrich is the way to go!

    November 18, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  21. trashcup

    Palin is on a giant EGO trip being overly paid to say anything she can to stir up more money. She could care less about her service to America because if she did, she would still be a governor in Alaska. Instead she resigned to take advantage of her popularity while she still was popular. Imagine if she had filled out her two years as Governor – she wouldn't sell nearly as many books or get invited to $100,000 speeches on private jets if she had.

    God help America if she ever gets elected to a national public office.

    November 18, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  22. Grundoon

    Bailin' Palin!?! Seriously? No way!

    November 18, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  23. Kevin, Virginia

    If she were to get elected president then it would be the start of my move to another country. She has no idea how to really run office. The only real reason she is doing this is to sell more books and gain more speaking engaments.

    on the other hand if she did win the republican ticket it would be a sure win for Obama.

    November 18, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  24. Lucas Breen

    Never underestimate what Palin and her people are capable of.

    "Operation Bristol" has successfully organized a network of Tea Partiers to rig "Dancing with the Stars". It's pathetic what these people will do.

    November 18, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  25. tony

    Knock what out out the park??? They have world-class logic, economics, politics and debating classes at beauty queen school???

    November 18, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
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