THE GOP FRONT-RUNNER FOR 2016: IS IT PALIN?
It's been argued that a Mitt Romney loss in November would leave Rick Santorum as the GOP presidential front-runner for 2016. But Geov Parrish flags this from a Public Policy Polling national survey of Republicans:
The talk of a brokered convention never seems to die down and one interesting finding on this poll was that Sarah Palin is far more popular than any of the actual Republican candidates in the race. Her net favorability is +48, with 68% of voters rating her favorably to only 20% with a negative opinion. That compares favorably to +29 for Santorum, +19 for Romney, and -26 for Paul.
Palin is someone GOP delegates might be able to unify around in the case of a hopelessly deadlocked convention. She is seen positively by Gingrich voters (85/7), Santorum supporters (80/10), and Romney ones (57/27) alike. That's a contrast to Romney who is disliked by both Santorum (38/48) and Gingrich (32/54) voters and Santorum who is disliked by Romney (38/48) voters and only seen narrowly favorably by Gingrich (46/42) backers.
This is a change from, say, last August, when a Fox News poll reported that Palin was so unpopular that 58% of Republicans and 64% of conservatives thought she wouldn't make a good president, agreeing with the vast majority of non-conservative America.
The difference, I think, is that back then she was spending a lot of time trying to get herself into the broader national spotlight. Since then, she's retreated to the right's bubble. She's saying things right-wingers want to hear, but the rest of us are ignoring her -- which means we're not laughing at her. (When righties finally noticed how hard we were laughing at her, a year or so ago, their fantasies of Palin as conquering Queen Esther became harder to sustain.)
You know what's hilarious? People who correctly predicted that she wouldn't run this time said she was avoiding a run because she'd have to answer serious questions at debates. That's probably true -- yet look who shined at the debates. Herman Cain chanting "9-9-9." Then Newt blathering about God-knows-what while accusing some debate moderator or other of treason. With interludes of Ron Paul getting cheers for talking about leaving people to die in ditches, because the Austrian economics demand it. Palin missed her opportunity! She was made for this clown show!
So will she realize her error and give it a go four years from now? I sincerely hope so.
(X-posted at Balloon Juice.)