April 13th, 2010
09:31 PM ET
12 years ago

CNN Poll: Who wins an Obama vs. Palin matchup?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/13/art.obama.palin.jpg caption="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. Jerry in Ohio

    Palin looks better in a bathing suit though!!!

    April 13, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  2. Steve in VA

    ABO....... Anybody But Obama!!!!

    April 13, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  3. Perusing-through


    My guess is the rednecks are scratching their heads in bewilderment right now. They are wondering why Alaska's Caribou Palin didn't win the RNC straw poll?

    Answer is that most people know Sarah "Reload" Palin is a political airhead? NO MALICE INTENDED, JUST A FACT.

    April 13, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  4. Cynthia - Arkansas


    I am getting so tired of the media covering these crazy Tea Bag/Republican Taliban and act like they are speaking for the sane people in this country. These people are dangerous as the least and there speeches are sound like treason to me. Who are they planning to fight in their Revolution? American troops? Won't they then be the enemy???? Wake up and shut these people up. This will not end well.

    April 13, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  5. no chance

    It figures the Clinton News Network fixes it numbers so NOBAMA wins.

    April 13, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  6. Perusing-through


    In a blind test-vote, intelligent people will always cast their vote for intelligent leaders.

    A pit-bull with lipstick (her words, not mine) is no match against a 10-ton elephant with brains. Hey pit-bull, go back to school and put on some 'intellectual weight'.

    April 13, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  7. pkb

    Come clean CNN – How much money is changing hands here to publish such garbage?

    April 13, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  8. will

    This renews my faith in America. The Repugs are seeing Palin for what she truly is...a straight-from-the-trailer park mess, uneducated, hillbilly. I hope she becomes aware of the poll results and decides to spare her party any further embarrassment. I think Palin is revolting!!!

    April 13, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  9. Sane Animals

    If you don't know who Sarah Palin is, don't know who Mitt Romney is, don't know who Mike Huckabee is, or don't know who Ron Paul is–you are ignorant and shouldn't be voting anyway, whatever your thoughts on the current administration. I'll never forget the poll in 2000 that found that about a third of likely voters were convinced that Clinton was the Democratic candidate, running for a third term.
    But if you can't identify any of the likely Presidential candidates for 2012, you're probably not reading CNN, so I'm probably just screaming without a point.

    April 13, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  10. Jin

    Puh-leeeze run Palin.

    April 13, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  11. Lynn

    Please, just honestly picture her speaking before any gathering of world leaders. How pathetic her squeaky little voice and quaint mannerisms would appear and to represent the USA as a world leader. She's nothing but a silly woman who somehow has become the darling of the Republicans, primarily for lack of anybody else of statesmanship qualities, not that she has anything but sex appeal.

    April 13, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  12. John

    Yes the media has been successful in destroying Palin while Obama does nothing but destroy America. Simple but true.

    April 13, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  13. NancyLV

    When is everyone going to get over this she is not going to run for president I don't know why the dems are so afraid and if they are not then why is the Obama media constantly putting her up against any dems this is so stupid they need to get over themselves do they think this is good reading?

    April 13, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  14. m smith

    You guys must be running out of news. What a stupid poll. How could anyone compair the two. One has a brain the other shoots moose. Give us all a break.Can you imagin that dimwit talking to heads of state? Slow news day????

    April 13, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  15. paul

    BOTH are losers that don't have a chance in 2012

    April 13, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  16. annie s

    Death panel Sarah honest and trustworthy??? I think not.

    April 13, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  17. RB

    Is this really the best you can come up with CNN? Lets debate real candidates like Romney, Brown, Pawlenty......
    This President has not done one thing positive for job creation and will suffer dearly in 2012.....

    April 13, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  18. political midgets, all of them!`

    Let's see ... Huckabee believes that the earth is 5,000 years old, and was created in seven twenty-four hour days; Palin believes in witchcraft, speaking in tongues, bombing Iran.

    Yep, they'd make a good match-up for the Republican ticket ... and a 60% or better win for Obama in the general election!

    April 13, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  19. JLSS

    You have got to be kidding... right?

    What a waste of time and money. I do hope Palin runs, she is the gift that keeps on giving... to Democrats, that is!

    April 13, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  20. ttm013

    and in other news... the earth is round. OMG

    really? did we really spend money to conduct a survey on this? how about less articles on the obvious?

    April 13, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  21. Adalbert

    There is absolutely no comparison. The President is an educated well rounded intelligent individual. Palin Inc. is a money making machine from the backs of those poor people who listen to her.

    April 13, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  22. Dennis

    Why do the Republicans even bother? Until they can find a candidate who can offer some REAL constructive ideas instead of digging out and dusting off all of the failed policies of decades gone by they will never be a viable party again. If they continue to let James Dobson and the Wall Street crowd call the shots.....well they will get what they got, not much.

    April 13, 2010 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  23. Bassman

    Sarah has said her thinking is 2010 not 2012. She is out their pointing out the truth about the Obama Administration. If it hurts her politically, so be it. Electing Republicans is her goal right now. At 45, she has a 18 year window if she decides to run for the President.

    April 13, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  24. Obamalism

    good god, the SAME 3???

    The GOP has too many young AND accomplished stars to be putting these 3 at the top.

    Paul Ryan '12

    April 13, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  25. hongli

    Bring on Sarah Palin,Gingrich,Paul,Romney, and the other DEAd HORSES and President Barack Obama will be announce as "Winner and still the CHAMPION " in a LANDSLIDE VICTORY that America has never seen. GOP --- GERMS OF POLITICS.

    April 13, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
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