November 18th, 2010
09:08 AM ET
12 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. DIANA

    The only thing you could beat him in is in bad sentence structure and bad grammar.

    Bring it Sister Sarah, we need a good laugh again and Tina Fey is probably salivating at the idea, it would make her rich beyond her wildest dreams, as well as SNL.

    November 18, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  2. Fladabosco

    The only way this lady can knock it out of the park during a debate is if everyone watching is stupid; no average as everyone else. In this case average is NOT a compliment.

    November 18, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  3. Jay

    If you run, I hope you will be the Republican nominee. I know when it comes down to the final, you will seriously get your butt kicked. Then finally when Obama has defeated you, your BS talking point attacks will have been shown to be rejected by the populace. And then finally your 15 minutes will end and you can move back to Wasilla and give them back their lucky rich village idiot.

    November 18, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. Phil in KC

    Suppose Palin debates Obama and she knocks it out of the park? Suppose pigs fly and unicorns poop Skittles.

    November 18, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  5. Texas Pete

    Please no Palin! We have the Dems on the ropes. Don't let them come back.

    November 18, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  6. Maggie Lee

    Has she graduated from college yet? What's her degree in – comedy?

    November 18, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  7. Cat

    She is too stupid to do anything. The moron of the world. There is not one good word you can say about this idiot.
    She is a Hitler in a skirt

    November 18, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  8. PAUL W!

    More like an overhanging cliff. Look Sarah, you are just way too ignorant and mean to ever even enter the realm of candidates America should and will consider for President. Great empires usually fail when they are led by ignorant and reckless individuals and we are just now recovering from one such leader. We sure don't need to double down with Caribou Barbie. Thanks anyways!

    November 18, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  9. Mollybee

    Tell me one thing this person has done for the American people. Why does she deserve all the publicity? If you're going to entertain, Sarah, then entertain but stay out of our country's politics. CNN, please stop the Palin love affair.

    November 18, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  10. JR

    "But suppose when she starts doing the debates during the primaries, she knocks it out of the park."m, hahahahahahaha, delusional, not just Palin but the sycophants she's surrounded herself with, hahahahahas. Her hand isn't big enough to cover a debate hahahaha

    November 18, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  11. PaulC

    I encourage her to run.

    November 18, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  12. tp1776

    No politician in our lifetime is so completely the product of the media, which loves the Sarah story and longs to keep it alive. We will watch the coronation of Sarah for the next two years. Then we'll see Todd - er, I mean Sarah - elected President of the United States.

    November 18, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. Gale

    I think you just put on all the Sarah Palin articles to make all the rabid liberals foam at the mouth. On articles pertaining to her, you can get up to 350 comments, on articles that one needs to have half a brain to comment on, you might get 10 or 12. Go half-brains!

    November 18, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  14. Squiggs

    She probably thinks that moose can vote. Obamas poll numbers will go up as we get closer to the 2012 election. Palin's numberw will go down when people realize that she quit her one job that would have qualified her after 2 years because she wanted to do a reality show. Romney can't help but come across as phony and I can't wait for him to try and slam Obama on healthcare when he put in place a similar plan in Mass. when he was masquerading as a Democrat. Just having Palin's name mentioned shows just how far this country has fallen. this woman isn't qualified to be dog catcher yet because she was mistakenly thrust into prominence by that halfwit McCain she is nor considered presdential material.

    November 18, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. Carol

    Nothing could change my negative opinion of Palin as a person. She is who she is, debates or no debates. She is not qualified to hold public office as she does not have the knowledge, maturity or professionalism to hold any higher office. I do not understand how some people can take her seriously. And her supporters should beware: they will be the first ones under the bus. Sarah comes first, $$$ second (or probably first). Can you imagine her family in the White House? Now there's a sickening thought for ya. A husband with no job, Sarah with no brains, and a house full of uneducated children!!

    November 18, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. robertj298

    Wow lets hope we don't have that many stupid voters in this country to get her elected. Of course she could always quit after 2 years like she did her last job lol

    November 18, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  17. trismeg

    In this previous election and obvious early ramp up for the upcoming 2012 election it becomes blindingly obvious that our hack job elects and new comers would rather pander Americans based on the assumption the overall I.Q. is less then 75. The saddest thing about this is... they might be on to something. Its one thing to get out and vote, but if your just voting for the "mama bear" cause you like your mama and you like bears YOU A NOT HELPING. Here's press release, RELEASE YOUR SELF FROM THE PRESS. Candidates for office will manipulate you for your vote. The popularity contest verses real content is pitifully sad and I may be loosing brain cells just from having to see this train wreck.

    November 18, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |

    This woman was not even capable of running her own State of Alaska let alone the entire country. She totally lacks the intellect necessary to be the leader of our country. Bring it on Sarah!

    November 18, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  19. This question is a joke

    Hello?!? Newspeople?!?!? 2012 is still over a year away.

    Let's focus on finishing 2010 instead of rushing to give the microphone to every kook who wants to be the president.

    November 18, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  20. Max

    This woman is a meglomanic; it's all about her. In NO way should she be President. Not qualified, not intelligent enough and not about us......go away!

    November 18, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  21. Jim Harrison

    So you are telling me our country is not going totally nuts and perhaps is snapping back to reality.

    November 18, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  22. Cregg

    Say what you want about Palin but the facts are, she quit on her state and she cant even get a backed candidate elected in her state. Anyone who says that they have a real under standing of foreign policy because their state borders 2 countries needs to be seriously questioned and looked at. I guess the govenors of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas can claim then same thing ? America, please pick a true candidate for President.

    November 18, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  23. nolapearl

    No, Mr. Coale – it wouldn't change anything, especially the fact that Sarah Palin is just not qualified to be a world leader.

    November 18, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
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