Saturday, January 01, 2011


I really don't want this blog to be all Palin all the time this year, but I see Nate Silver and Jonathan Bernstein discussing her chances and I want to throw in my two cents.

I still think she'll run, but I'm having more doubts about that, especially after last week. I guess I'm just surprised at the ferocity of the attacks on Palin from within the Murdoch family -- I was really surprised to see her being criticized on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, of all places, for her potshots at Michelle Obama's food activism (and there were also a couple of additional Palin attacks on Fox this week, by Juan Williams and Dana Perino). So when I look at the CNN poll showing Palin losing ground among Republicans, I have to conclude that GOP voters are just falling in line -- their media masters are saying bad things about Palin, and many of them are dutifully nodding agreement. (And I obviously shouldn't ignore attacks by the likes of Charles Krauthammer.)

However, if you look at the numbers in the CNN poll (PDF), you see that Palin is still very much in the hunt -- 23% of Republicans say they're "very likely" to support her as the GOP candidate, compared with 24% for Romney and 27% for Huckabee. Her "not likely at all" number has gone way up since December 2008 (from 12% to 28%), but remember, she just needs to win enough early primaries against a large field of candidates, so she doesn't really need majority support, just a passionate cult following that's bigger, in the necessary states, than what her rivals can put together. (And I do think her voters will vote come hell or high water, which won't be true of Mitt's or Huck's.)

And when you dig deeper into the CNN numbers, you notice she's actually doing better among men than among women -- 26% of GOP women say they've "very likely" to support her, as opposed to 21% of GOP men. That's a huge contrast to past polls, from 2008 and from earlier this year, which revealed that her fan base was more male than female. So a segment of the GOP electorate -- blue-collar women -- is dutifully following her marching orders; she said "Mama Grizzly" so often that these women have now internalized that marketing concept.

Ultimately, it may be a question of which propaganda campaign will decide the nomination. I suspect that the Murdoch/Ailes/Rove crowd will triumph, but I'm not certain; I do think she's not going to let them scare her out of running.

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