Wednesday, March 16, 2011


The headline of this story is "Sarah Palin Losing More Ground Among Republicans, Post-ABC poll Finds," but I agree with Steve Benen:'s the breakdown for the four candidates with national profiles:

1. Mike Huckabee -- 61% favorable, 18% unfavorable
2. Mitt Romney -- 60% favorable, 21% unfavorable
3. Sarah Palin -- 58% favorable, 37% unfavorable
4. Newt Gingrich -- 55% favorable, 26% unfavorable

... even after all of her various controversies and humiliations, Palin
remains surprisingly popular with GOP voters. Indeed, of the possible presidential field, she's trailing Huckabee and Romney by just a couple of points, and among those with a "strongly" favorable opinion, Palin is second only to Huckabee.

... at this point, she still enjoys favorable ratings from a clear majority of Republican voters.

We all know how hard members of the GOP elite have worked recently to try to tarnish Palin's reputation. We know how many seemingly self-sabotaging things she herself has done. And her numbers haven't gone any lower than this?

I don't know if this means she can win the nomination. I think it means she probably has nothing to lose by running -- if she's defeated, she can say she was the victim of a sinister plot by the Establishment, which fears her. Meanwhile, I think she can do well in early states, when there'll still be a lot of other candidates in the race, because the number of fans will matter more than the number of haters.

Dear GOP Establishment: you can have Palin as a nominee, or you can have someone else who taps into craziness and ignorance and anger. Or you can have Romney -- he does well in this poll, with surprisingly high numbers among the "very" conservative, though he has much lower numbers among the very conservative crowd in the latest Public Policy Polling survey. But if you go that way, you're going to wind up with no base enthusiasm for your nominee, as in 2008. And this time, a lot of the crazies will probably vote find some third party whackjob to vote for.

But maybe you won't care. Maybe you'll actually let a third-party barking loon drum up voter enthusiasm, in the hope that that will help teabagging Republicans down-ballot, and you'll just shrug off a Romney loss. Four more years to push Obama around (while blaming him for everything that goes wrong)? Maybe the GOP will take that outcome happily.

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