November 18th, 2010
09:08 AM ET
11 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. tom

    In this instance: (the same hurtle that then...) the word is hurdle.

    November 18, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  2. Mark

    She could not even govern Alaska and quit after two years, how on earth does anyone in his right mind think that this idiot can govern the US, especially in the deep trouble we are in? Only fools and lunatics and this nation seems to be full of it.

    November 18, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  3. Mike

    It's called attention-seeking or narcissistic personality. She does this to get more face time so she can charge more for speaking fees and get more attention. Until she actually DOES something, how about laying off of her? She couldn't even make it through one term as governor, she's making millions speaking to like minds, and news outlets hang on her every (non) word. Let her actually MAKE news before you report on her.

    November 18, 2010 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  4. Rob in PA

    You know you live in the stupidest country on earth when the name Sarah Palin is even mentioned in a discussion about the Presidency. The race to the bottom is now at warp speed. Americans deserve everything they get.

    November 18, 2010 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  5. IVOTE

    Sarah Palin is delusional.

    November 18, 2010 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  6. ThinkAgain

    If our country were to elect this Wasilla Dimwit, we all deserve to go to hades!

    November 18, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  7. atypical

    It is phenomenally astounding that Palin has received as much attention as she has. I have to hope that the majority of Americans have enough intelligence collectively, to prevent the possibility of Palin even becoming a presidential candidate.

    November 18, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  8. kohethanolic

    Can America be any more stupider than elect you as a president?

    November 18, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  9. Lolo

    If she wins they will cheat just like the Bush/Gore election. This woman will want to win at all cost. Just see how she teachs her children that if you win by cheating it is still a win. Example being Bristol on Dancing with the stars. The tea partiers are bragging about how they made up fake e-mail adresses to vote over 300 times for Bristol for her to win instead of letting her stand on her own two feet. They preach about morals and values, but I do not see any of it coming out of these people. They are hypocrites and Sarah Palin is at the top of the list. The first thing they do is blame other people for their mistakes. The apple does not fall far from the tree. The first thing Bristol says is the haters are coming out. No one hates her, the point is she can not dance period, but they refuse to accept that they are not good at somethings. Just like Saah is dumd as rocks. She just isn't smart enough to run a country. I guarantee you that the Palin family has cheated at everything to get what they want. Even first dude to win the dog sled races. But if people want to dumb down America and cheat their way trough life because of the Palin Hillbillies that is their choice. Obviously they do not have a higher goal to accomplish in their lives.

    November 18, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  10. Kingsly

    isnt she the one getting a Reality TV show? i dont know if i want her in the white house....

    November 18, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  11. Ellid

    Perhaps Former Half-Governor Palin needs to recall these words from the Bible she claims to know so well:

    "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."

    November 18, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  12. Bob

    CNN, I thought you would love this news since you are obsessed with this woman. Something like this will keep you guys pushing the constant barrage of anti-Palin news for the next two years. Come on CNN, please get back to real news and not this drive-by slash and burn journalism. You are better than this.

    November 18, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  13. Laurie in Spokane

    It appears Palin is delusional now too, if she thinks she'd have a chance against Obama in 2012. So,..... she's delusional, uninformed, divisive, a quitter, back-stabber, money-grubbing, fanatical............just what we'd want in the White House. I hope she runs really, so she can demonstrate just how unqualified she is.

    November 18, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  14. Forrest

    I very much do NOT want Palin to be a candidate. But it's not because i'm afraid of her winning. It's because I want and plan to vote Republican in the next presidential election. The ONLY possible reason I would vote for Obama is if Palin is the Republican opponent. Between the two, i'd prefer Obama. Between Obama and any of the other potential candidates, i'd take the Republican. So you see, i'm very much against Palin for president, simply because I don't want to have to vote for Obama.

    November 18, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  15. VB Lincoln Park NJ

    As a proud Democrat and forward looking progressive, unlike MS Palin; I would welcome her being the Repugnican nominee for Presdient in 2012.


    November 18, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  16. Indy

    She simply does not have the "Right Stuff" to become POTUS. She might be very popular as a celebrity or reality TV star but the intellegence and thick skin needed is not there, plain and simple. These are very serious times in the world right now and only the very best educated and the very best qualifications need apply. It is very un American to waste time and energy on a candidate that does not have what it takes to become President. The truth about her record is very short and filled with abuse and illegal activities and Lord help the world if she was ever near the "Red Button" with her all to quick to action before understanding issues.She was a bad Mayor and a below average Governor and a great and wealthy celebrity, that is her record, thats all there is to it.

    November 18, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  17. marc

    look guys & gals, you need to be smart, intelligent, well rounded, worldly minded, and diplomatical, to be able to go around this big ole world that we live in and represent america in a good positive light. we tried the redneck, cowboy way with the Bush regime and it failed miserablely. palin does not pocess any of these traits that i just named. she would only be good for alaska only, because her mind is so small. america, we can do sooooooooo much better than her!!!

    November 18, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  18. Mike S.

    Sarah Palin represents most accurately the current state of the Republican party. Anyone who thinks she can't be elected should look back at the 2000 presidential election, and the actions of the Supreme Court afterward. Although it is possible that a majority of voters would cast protest or hate votes in favor of Palin, I still believe the majority of Americans would refudiate everything she stands for: greed, empty rhetoric, snake oil, bigotry, low educational standards, dysfunctional families, and failing to finish the job for which she was elected.

    November 18, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  19. SeanNJ

    Sorta like when Christine O'Donnell thought she could beat Chris Coons...

    November 18, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  20. Mark Henriksen

    No. It is not a good thing for the country. The discourse? What does that mean. Is it good for your family? Who cares! Its
    bad, bad for the country.

    November 18, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  21. yogibearman

    Although President Obama may not be the best at politics, he has made some hard choices and contrary to popular belief, moved this country forward. Why would anyone vote for quiter who is afraid to sit down with REAL journalist and discuss what makes her a better candidate. I think once you put her under a microscope all you will find is a gold digger with a pretty face and no substance. Don't believe me? Just ask the citizens of Alaska, who just kicked SARA BACKED Joe Miller to the curb!!!

    November 18, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  22. Mike from Brooklyn

    "Suppose when she starts doing the debates... she knocks it out of the park." Suppose the moon is made of green cheese. She is only AGAINST things - what is she FOR? She quit her job so she can stand on the sidelines - with no responsibilities - and criticize and mock those that actually try to do things. She panders to the worst in people, seeking to divide Americans when we desperately need to be brought together. And she writes on her hand, for crying out loud!!! Hardly presidential.

    November 18, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  23. detada

    Of course she can see herself beating Barack Obama in 2012. This is the same moron who claimed she could see Russia from her front door.

    November 18, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  24. bjk

    Ms. Palin and her friend John Coale are so-o-o full of themselves. "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?" Even her friends are delusional. She would have to debate Repubs in the primaries and won't be able to blame the media for her lack of knowledge as they chew her up and spit her out. The last political job she had she QUIT. Bring it on, Sarah! Let the infighting begin!

    November 18, 2010 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  25. Dave in Waterloo

    Many living outside of the us cannot believe that the general US voting public could even consider a candidate like Palin for the supreme Office of President. If this would come to pass, the view of the US in the eyes of the world would drop to new and unprecidented low.

    November 18, 2010 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
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