Palin 2012: can she win or can't she?
January 3rd, 2011
08:38 AM ET
11 years ago

Palin 2012: can she win or can't she?

(CNN) – With the Republican presidential race expected to officially gear up in the coming weeks, Sunday brought divergent predictions from two prominent Republicans on just how viable a Sarah Palin candidacy could be.

The divergent opinions are illustrative of the ongoing debate within the Republican Party - especially between the new and old guard - over whether Palin will prove to be more of a force for good or bad in the coming months as the party sets its sights on ensuring President Obama is limited to one term.

Speaking on ABC's This Week, longtime conservative columnist George Will ruled out any possibility the former Alaska governor could be victorious in a general election contest, which is usually decided by swing suburban voters who hold more moderate positions than those that Palin espouses.

"The president's secret weapon may be the Republican nominating electorate," he said. There is one person, high in the polls, Sarah Palin, who cannot be elected president because she cannot compete where elections are decided. In the collar counties outside Chicago, Montgomery County outside of Philadelphia- just can't compete there."

Will is placing his bet on outgoing Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, should he decide to run.

But newly-elected Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania offered a different assessment of the former vice presidential nominee's chances on NBC's Meet the Press, saying she could sway Pennsylvania's swing electorate by focusing on the same fiscal issues he campaigned on.

"We went into this election cycle with a 1.2 million voter registration deficit and with a Republican brand that was in a really bad way, and I still won this election," he said. "So, I think the electorate wants a return of economic growth, wants serious fiscal discipline. If they believe they've got a candidate that's going to deliver on those things, then it's possible."

A third Republican meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, wouldn't name Palin directly when asked to size up the 2012 presidential field, saying instead that he wants "the most electable conservative, whoever that is."

Graham added that person is likely to be former presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

"Mitt Romney has got his problems as a candidate, but so does everyone else," Graham said Meet the Press.

Filed under: 2012 • Sarah Palin
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Liz the First

    Someone said you couldn't go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people. so as scary as it sounds, yes, she could, as long as so many people aren't paying attention to what's going on in the country and don't bother to vote. we have the kind of government you get when We, the People, stay home from the polls in huge numbers. the republicans don't represent the American people, they represent the American Idiots! voting should be a legal requirement, not just a sacred duty and responsibility, which doesn't seem to be enough to motivate some of us.

    January 3, 2011 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  2. rusty155

    Well If you want Obama too win In 2012 than let SARAN PALIN run against him and he will win by a land side. Saran Palin Is a half term Gov. that Quit ,and she not QUALIFIED to run for President.

    January 3, 2011 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  3. Jack

    A better question would be "SHOULD" she win.

    Resounding NO!

    January 3, 2011 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mitch Daniels and Mitt Romney would be good candidates for a Sara Lee bake off, but not much as candidates for president of the republican party.

    January 3, 2011 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  5. Bubba

    She can't win. She's in it for the money. Next question please?

    January 3, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  6. Joseph

    Don't forget that Sarah Palin abondoned her State and her constituents in the middle of her term as Governor of Alaska for personal gain. She did it once she might do it again. I will vote for anybody else but never for Sarah Palin. We have enough problems as it is.

    January 3, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  7. WDRussell

    Folks, it is called bait and switch. Someone like, born on third Romney will run and tell people that is isn't nearly as crazy as Sarah.

    January 3, 2011 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  8. ST

    If GOP wants to test how Americans think; just bring that beauty queen on and they will get the answer they are looking for! Go for it and do not hesitate, please!

    January 3, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  9. Monster Zero

    It wont be Sara, she is too polarizing and it will assure that we get another four years of failed big government take over ideas.

    January 3, 2011 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  10. Jeff In Ohio

    The former 1/2 term governor of Alaska is the best chance we have of making sue we get 4 more years. Go Sarah! Don't let the sanity bring you down!

    January 3, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  11. Firedog51

    Please please please let her think she can win and then run her primary opponents into the ground so she can run against someone who has actually accomplished something. It would be her lone contribution to mankind.

    January 3, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  12. Patrick

    Please run so we can be rid of You and the republicans for a generation.

    January 3, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  13. Don Beal

    How can Mitt Romney ever present himself as a candidate with principles? When he was governor of Massachusetts, he pushed a state-run insurance program. Now, as a potential national candidate, he sees such a measure as a bad idea. It's worse than the cross John Kerry had to bear – "I voted for it before I voted against it." Romney is an unabashed opportunist.

    January 3, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  14. Mark

    As a moderate and Independent I am very curious to see where this goes. One thing does stand out. You have democrat party very firmly behind their leader ....regardless of what you think of him, so much so it is not likely he'll face a challenger. But over in the GOP you see chaos, division, and inflighting, old vs new and so on. They need to get their ship in order quickly and hope that Sarah doesn't end up splitting the vote.

    I can say as an Indie there is NO way I could in conscience vote for Palin or Huckabee, and that is showing up in every early poll so far – Indies dont want the far right, and you cant win without that middle.

    January 3, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  15. annie s

    Toomey is brilliant! Who else could figure out that Americans want a return to economic growth? And a guy smart enough to deduce that out surely couldn't be wrong about Death panel Sarah's chances, could he? Duh.

    January 3, 2011 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  16. Ray E. (Georgia)

    It is a delimma. If Sarah Palin gets strong support and get's nominated she could very well be our next President. After all they elected Harry Truman didn't they? Sarah would be no worse than some of the "real winners" elected in the last few decades. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama come to mind. It all depends how the primaries go. The Republicians have several good canidents in the Mix. I don't count Sarah out and the ground swell may be too much to overcome.

    January 3, 2011 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  17. Larry W

    Correction strike the sentence OH sitting incumbent with a boat load of money, I was referring to OH.

    January 3, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  18. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The problem is that Palin is an ideologue. People are starting to realize that you can't get the business of the country done with ideological thinking alone. There needs to be some understanding and room for dealing with the facts as they are not as you want them to be. I think that who ever wins the GOP nonination needs to have more than just a good anti-Obama campaign; they need new ideas which the GOP seems to be short of right now.

    January 3, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  19. Katie

    She doesn't stand a chance. If Palin was to run, we could see the biggest election landslide in history. I believe that most Americans still value intelligence and maturity – and realize that this country is complicated and cannot be run via 140 character "tweets". I think they also are astute enough to realize that debate on the issues should consist of more than "I know you are but what am I" sophomoric snark. I think that ms palins biggest detractors will be educated working women. She lost me when she winked at the crowd during the vice presidential debate and then dug her grave with her pathetically shallow and scripted responses during the debate. This is a big complicated world of which ms palin has no comprehension. Yeah, to the walmart cashiers and the blue haired old ladies she's a heroine, and men get their woodies just watching, but I truly believe the majority require more substance in a president.

    January 3, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  20. GI Joe

    She has been over-exposed - her ignorance has been brandished on a daily basis. Her blatant lies, and the fear and hate intended by those lies, has backfiired and cost her integrity and any symblance of honesty. She's a spoiled little whiney brat that bullies and threatens when she doesn't get HER way - even her own father is afraid to cross her. What a loser.

    January 3, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  21. T'sah from Virginia

    Bring it ON – Palin – and you will find out what DEFEAT is all about!!!

    It's a shame that the RepubliCAN'Ts – at this time – cannot come up with ONE PERSON that they feel will win against President Obama? NOT ONE!! I don't see why Sarah Palin is even in the MIX!!!

    We need to support our current leader, President Obama, as he continues to MOVE AMERICA FORWARD!!!


    January 3, 2011 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  22. TomInRochNY

    "Mitt Romney has got his problems as a candidate, but so does everyone else," Graham said Meet the Press.

    That's the problem in a nutshell, no good candidates!

    January 3, 2011 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  23. Ernie

    If Sarah Palin were to win the Republician Nomination (which isn't going to happen) she would get "Crushed" by Obama. She is the same as Obama inexperienced, she quite as Alaska's governor this is not a good track record. Only 50% of the candidates she endorsed won. Again not a good batting average. Her best bet would be to stay a "Power Broker" not a "Politician" There's one Politician in the White House now who was elected with little to no experience and it shows everyday. So why would the American People want to make the same mistake again. All I kow I would not "Vote" for Sarah Palin.

    January 3, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  24. Sgt, Joe

    How this is still a viable topic is beyond me. What is wrong with this country. How'd we ever get so stupid to think this idiot is a viable contender? I'm embarrassed for my country...there I said it!

    January 3, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  25. sara

    Run Sarah Run...don't let the Old White Men tell You what to do

    January 3, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
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