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The most important number in politics today

37

That's the gap in former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's favorability numbers among self-described conservatives (60 percent) and moderates (23 percent), according to a new independent poll conducted in the politically critical state of Iowa.

The chasm between how Palin is perceived among the Republican base and independent voters is nothing new as national polling has shown that sort of split for some time. But, that the dichotomy exists in Iowa, the place where Palin would -- presumably -- make her foray into presidential politics in 2012, is worth noting.

The numbers, which come courtesy of Ann Selzer aka the pollster who nailed the results of the 2008 Iowa Democratic caucuses, suggest that Palin is a potentially potent force in the state's caucus system but could well lose the swing state if she emerged as the party's nominee.

Among only Republicans, Palin has a very solid 68 percent favorable rating -- the second highest of any potential 2012 GOPer. (Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, the Rodney Dangerfield of the Republican party, stood at 70 percent favorable in the poll.)

Those numbers got Palin a headline in the Des Moines Register that any candidate with national ambitions would covet ("State Republicans like what they see in Sarah Palin") and are a very nice set-up for Palin's visit to Sioux City on Dec. 6 to promote "Going Rogue".

But, other data points in the poll should be worrisome to establishment Republicans who see real opportunity to oust President Barack Obama in 2012.

Despite her strong favorable numbers among Republicans, just 37 percent of all Iowans see Palin in a favorable light while a whopping 55 percent regard her unfavorably. Of that 55 percent, a whopping 30 percent rate Palin "very" unfavorably -- well more than the 12 percent who rate her very favorably. That sort of strong opposition to the idea of Palin means that if she wound up as the party's nominee in 2012 there will be many Democrats and even some Independents who will show up simply to vote against her -- never a good thing.

And, the fact that just eight percent of Iowans don't have an opinion about Palin -- a stunningly low number for a politician who is still relatively new to the national stage -- suggests that the former Governor will struggle to change her image in any meaningful way if she does decide to run for president.

The numbers out of Iowa bear out the Palin conundrum facing the GOP: she is amazingly popular within the party base and amazingly polarizing -- not in a good way -- among everyone else.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 23, 2009; 3:45 PM ET
Categories:  Most Important Number  
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Comments

" This would be the 1964 election deja vu, with most independents and some embarrassed Republicans voting for Obama. Republicans would lose even more seats in Congress and be relegated to a party of minimal political importance for at least a decade. "

It is probably worse than it looks should Sarah get the nod.

LBJ would have had smooth sailing INSPITE of Viet nam, but he signed the Civilo rights bills and sealed his fate. No such legislation, capable of causing permanent party swapping, is anywhere on the legislative horizon. While Health care and other contentious legislation is there, the lines are already drawn and will only harden current political affiliation. Instead of breaking up the democratic party, Obama's success will glue the beneficiaries of change we can believe in to their new found party, and opponents to their current home. Winning his first term legislative agenda, or even getting most of it just ossifies the status quo.

Posted by: ceflynline | November 24, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

As a Republican, I believe Republicans would ruin a good opportunity in 2012 if we nominate Sarah Palin for President. We have much better candidates out there than Palin. We have Pawlenty, Romney and so many more that's likely to run. Palin won't be getting my support.

==

If Pawlenty and Romney are your idea of stellar candidates you'd better hunker down for a long period in the wilderness.

Neither can win.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 24, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

As a Republican, I believe Republicans would ruin a good opportunity in 2012 if we nominate Sarah Palin for President. We have much better candidates out there than Palin. We have Pawlenty, Romney and so many more that's likely to run. Palin won't be getting my support.

Posted by: reason5 | November 24, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Look 00 CC's finally get it-- only he doesn't understand it isn't just Palin -- it's all the so-called 'movement conservatives' -- they are wildly popular among the base, a small percentage of the population -- and wildly unpoplar with everyone else.

"the Palin conundrum facing the GOP: she is amazingly popular within the party base and amazingly polarizing -- not in a good way -- among everyone else.'

Posted by: drindl | November 24, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Many Democrats, including some who work in the White House, may be praying for Palin to be the Republican nominee for president in 2012. This would be the 1964 election deja vu, with most independents and some embarrassed Republicans voting for Obama.

Republicans would lose even more seats in Congress and be relegated to a party of minimal political importance for at least a decade.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | November 24, 2009 12:45 AM | Report abuse

We defy you to decipher (or make any sense out of) the following nugget of wisdom from the Phalin that was quoted today by MoDo in the Times:

And she still has that Yoda-like syntax.

"“And I think more of a concern has been not within the campaign the mistakes that were made, not being able to react to the circumstances that those mistakes created in a real positive and professional and helpful way for John McCain,” she told Bill O’Reilly."

==

My head hurts.

But that "mistakes that were made" is 100% Weaselish.

I think she means that she wasn't able to capitalize on her riotous display of ignorance in a way that would excite her base, who not only ARE ignorant themselves but revere ignorance as evidence of personal authenticity.

Safeway ibuprofen gel-caps come through yet again.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 23, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

10. "I think on a national level your Department of Law there in the White House would look at some of the things that we've been charged with and automatically throw them out." --Sarah Palin, referring to a department that does not exist while attempting to explain why as president she wouldn't be subjected to the same ethics investigations that compelled her to resign as governor of Alaska, ABC News interview, July 7, 2009"

From "Top 10 Dumbest Sarah Palin Quotes
Idiotic Quotes by Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin"
http://politicalhumor.about.com/od/sarahpalin/a/palin-top-10.htm

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 23, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

I think exposure to sunlight is already doing its dirty work on her. All those speeches in the temperate zone are having their effect.

But I think McCain should drive the stake and take the rap.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 23, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

We defy you to decipher (or make any sense out of) the following nugget of wisdom from the Phalin that was quoted today by MoDo in the Times:

And she still has that Yoda-like syntax.

"“And I think more of a concern has been not within the campaign the mistakes that were made, not being able to react to the circumstances that those mistakes created in a real positive and professional and helpful way for John McCain,” she told Bill O’Reilly."

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/22/opinion/22dowd.html?_r=1

What?????


Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 23, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

What'll it be? Stake through the heart? Exposure to sunlight? Splashing her with holy water? Holding a cross in front of her face?

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 23, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

I think it's up to McCain to play the part of Van Helsing in the Palin matter.

I don't think he's up to it.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 23, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

37 is also the IQ of most of her followers. In almost every clip, from all networks, Fox included, her fans speak all of her talking points. There is nothing behind the facade. But I think it's great she stays around. With Beck calling for a new part, the GOP will no longer be at 20%. Let the numbers fall.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | November 23, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not quitting, I'm reloading."

==

And to think, there are people alive today, and living in this country, who ate that up and wanted a second helping.

"I'm reloading"

It's not just the gooper trolls who're immature

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 23, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Wow, really? Good to know.

And in that world out there Sarah Palin is liked only by a small and diminishing demographic; they are white, they are old, and they are mostly male. And they're so angry they can't do anything but wear Tim McVeigh T-shirts and yell a lot

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 23, 2009 8:01 PM
___________

Real angry...especially the members of the VonBrunn fan club.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 23, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Does it matter that 68% of Republicans support Phalin if only 17% of Americans self-identify as GOPers?

For sure, she's not getting Gregory Charles Royal's vote. The 1 million or so Faux News viewers, teabaggers, birthers, and Clown Hall thugs won't win Phalin the presidency in 2012.
It took her one full year of intense preparation before she could answer the tough question..."What newspapers do you read?"

To Phalin's credit, she has left us much to think about:

"Only dead fish go with the flow."

After quitting on her governorship:

"I'm not quitting, I'm reloading."

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 23, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

There is a world out there other than Palin haters Andrew Sullivan, MSNBC, et al.

==

Wow, really? Good to know.

And in that world out there Sarah Palin is liked only by a small and diminishing demographic; they are white, they are old, and they are mostly male. And they're so angry they can't do anything but wear Tim McVeigh T-shirts and yell a lot

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 23, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

It's really funny and I don't think you realize this, but your most important number in politics today - 37 - is also the number of ethics charges that Sanford faces. Perhaps your number has two meanings today?

- Matthew

Posted by: maths887 | November 23, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

"Chris Cillizaa posted this poll as if it was was NEW news, no doubt trying to parse his view on the result without alerting his readers that the poll was weeks old - pre Oprah, Barbara Walters, pre 2.5M book run, etc. As I said, let's see that poll again AFTER her book tour.

Posted by: briangsmooth"

Good point. I had no idea who Sarah Palin was until she appeared on Oprah.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 23, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

By definition BO and the neocom statists pander to, try to increase, as they form the base of the constituency and hopes for a permanent power base.

==

Again, caricatures.

Get out much?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 23, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

And how is her book tour going to increase her ratings as a *leader*?

Most of the book is reported to be whining about people who were mean to her. Do we vote for people we feel sorry for? Do we vote for whiners?

Just about everyone outside The Base has made up their minds that she is far FAR from presidential material

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 23, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse


Please, spare me the propaganda. There is a world out there other than Palin haters Andrew Sullivan, MSNBC, et al. The poll is old; There are newer polls out there suggesting that Gov Palin's favorability are rising, as a result of being able to define herself after her book tour, interestingly while Prez Obama's polls number are in a decline.

Chris Cillizaa posted this poll as if it was was NEW news, no doubt trying to parse his view on the result without alerting his readers that the poll was weeks old - pre Oprah, Barbara Walters, pre 2.5M book run, etc. As I said, let's see that poll again AFTER her book tour.

Posted by: briangsmooth | November 23, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

"underachievers"

By definition BO and the neocom statists pander to, try to increase, as they form the base of the constituency and hopes for a permanent power base.

Posted by: leapin | November 23, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Yet average Joes listen to Rush Limbaugh in their cars

==

If by "average Joes" you mean poor rural whites, you're right.

But your designation is not accurate, that underclass is not "average," it is "below average," in education and achievement. What you falsely refer to as populism is really more like bitterness and resentment on the part of underachievers unable to take the responsibility for their own lack of career progress, ready to blame it on "the government," on east coasters, on fictitious elitists, and of course on that horrible NON-PALE man in the White House.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 23, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Hey leapin, you are completely full of sh*t.

Palin is a traitor to her gender and that is the alpha and the omega of her feminism.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 23, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Right-wing populism also scares the left since grassroots movements are supposed to reflect democracy and the instant expression of popular will. And that is supposed to be good all the time. Yet average Joes listen to Rush Limbaugh in their cars, not Air America, and watch Bill O’Reilly, not MSNBC. Barack Obama was supposed to be a populist phenomenon, by virtue of being an African-American organizer, and we were to like him for his supposed ease with hoi polloi. But we surely cannot be consistent, and extend that notion of authenticity to a Christian, moose-hunter from the snow-bound, wacko far north who talks like the clerk at Wal-Mart — and draws crowds as large as Obama’s.

Posted by: leapin | November 23, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Feminism is not about ensuring that Dorothy at K-Mart is not fired because she is female. It is more about an upper-middle-class Dedi Wilson-Reynolds getting to the top of the university food chain, law firm, or government bureaucracy, on the assumption that her gender deserves compensation, in the manner of being non-white or foreign-born or non-Christian.

In such a climate, here comes snazzy, breezy, winking Sarah — happy, good-looking, a mom, and in no need of a rich husband or well-connected dad (in the manner of her critics like a Andrea Mitchell, Sally Quinn, Nancy Pelosi, etc). She inherently exposes feminism as a liberal advocacy movement rather than a bipartisan effort to ensure equal opportunity for women in the workplace and society at large.

Posted by: leapin | November 23, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

THAT POLL IS OLD, COVERING NOV 8 - 10, WELL BEFORE HER BOOK TOUR. Let's see her numbers AFTER the book tour and AFTER she's had a chance to redefine herself on her own terms

==

Uh, concluding that someone is an idiot tends to be a final evaluation. What is Palin going to do to make people reconsider her?

Make sense?

Dream on.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 23, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

About bloody time we heard the straight dope on Quitter Palin's chances.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 23, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

The AP supposedly hired 11 fact-checkers to discredit Ms. Palin’s memoir (Did Fox News hire 11 to question the very questionable things found in the two Obama memoirs?)

Bloggers post on Palin’s live interviews minute by minute; few, if any, opponents of Barack Obama do the same.

Every statement she makes is parsed, to prove she is ignorant or parochial — though most of her so-called lapses are the sort of things Biden and Obama are accustomed to committing weekly.

Posted by: leapin | November 23, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

"With just a little luck and her rabid base, Sarah can stampede the Party, and end up running with whatever poor sap is gullible enough to me her running mate.

All will be sweetness and light within the palin campaign UNTIL they have to try to win over non 20%ers.

Then it all falls apart and sarah gets a brutal lesson in being unpopular. Odds are she drags many marginally electable Republicans down with her, eswpecially as, if Republicans try to distance themselves from her they alienate the 20% and if they don't they alienate the 80%.

Here's wishing SP all the best."
________

Interesting but the GOP will probably not allow that to happen, since it's marginally smarter than Palin. Though I do wonder if Sen. McCain will pay with his senate seat for having thrust her upon the national stage.

Posted by: Kelly14 | November 23, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

There is undue emphasis on elite schooling as prerequisites for success. We know now that you can do nothing and still finish as the head of Harvard Law Review, or win a Nobel Prize, but if you miss an antlered moose, or run out of gas in the tundra, or fall overboard on a salmon boat, there is no Norwegian committee or Harvard Law Dean to bail you out.

Such is not an argument for anti-intellectualism or a dismissal of in-depth scholarship and research, but rather a reminder that Palin has led a full life that can be enhanced by more formal investigation. A chatty, rarified Obama misses dearly a concrete past, where he had to succeed or fail on his own merits, in a competitive unkind environment, where the muscular world often conspires against the intellectual.

And boy, it sure shows as we are learning in just 10 months of his uninspired governance.

Posted by: leapin | November 23, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Well, so much for CC's vow to break himself of the "Palinator" habit.

***

URGENT TO:

TEAM OBAMA / D. AXELROD / R. EMANUEL / R. GIBBS / JAY CARNEY / A.G. HOLDER (staff, pls. fwd.)

We know the Fort Hood shooter was harasseed. Was he also "community stalked" by government-enabled vigilantes? Did this covert federal program help drive him to kill?

SECRET MULTI-AGENCY FED PROGRAM TORTURES, IMPAIRS, PERSECUTES THOUSANDS OF U.S. CITIZENS WITH NATIONWIDE SILENT MICROWAVE / LASER WEAPONS SYSTEMS, LOCAL VIGILANTISM: VETERAN JOURNALIST

• Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan
• FEMA Director Craig Fugate
• NSA Director Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander
• Former JSOC Commander Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal
• DIA Director Maj. Gen. Michael Maples
• DOJ Asst. Atty. Gen./National Security David Kris
• CIA Deputy Director Stephen Kappes
• FBI Director Robert Mueller

TEAM OBAMA, CONGRESS MUST ASK: What do they know -- and when did they know it?

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

http://nowpublic.com/world/govt-tortures-me-silent-microwave-weapons-ousted-s-prez

OR NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 23, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

THAT POLL IS OLD, COVERING NOV 8 - 10, WELL BEFORE HER BOOK TOUR. Let's see her numbers AFTER the book tour and AFTER she's had a chance to redefine herself on her own terms

Posted by: briangsmooth | November 23, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

THAT POLL IS OLD, COVERING NOV 8 - 10, WELL BEFORE HER BOOK TOUR. Let's see her numbers AFTER the book tour and AFTER she's had a chance to redefine herself on her own terms.

Posted by: briangsmooth | November 23, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

ceflynline, you're making the false assumption that Independent = Moderate.

Posted by: nodebris | November 23, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

If she goes after the GOP nomination, the only thing that stands in her way is the common sense and practicality of the GOP's shrinking base. That's a pretty low hurdle.

Posted by: nodebris | November 23, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Ah, now I know I'm at The Fix -- yet another Palin post.

Oh, and Charles Franklin's take on BHO's approval numbers among independents:

"[S]upport for Obama has not plummeted among independents, and that needs to be clarified before it becomes erroneous conventional wisdom."

http://www.pollster.com/blogs/obama_and_indepedents.php

Posted by: mnteng | November 23, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Go to Iowa. Tell them you love ethanol. Promise creation of millions of green jobs.

Posted by: leapin | November 23, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Actually the most important number in politics for the next couple of years is One hundred percent less the sum of per cents of Registered Democratic and Republican voters.

That currently seems to be about equal to the number of Registered democrats.

Organize them, and motivate ten percent of those registered who never seem to vote, and that party wins.

So, who wants to be the first American Center party candidate for President? And which thirty three Americans want to become the ACP contingent in Congress?

WHEN will the Armadillo Party go out and organize?

Posted by: ceflynline | November 23, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Considering her STRONG negatives outside the party, and her unthinking support inside the conservative wing of the party, Iowa seems to be the beginning of a nasty trap for the Party. Palin is very well placed to win the primary, because there will be several Republicans to split the not Sarah vote, and because all Republican primaries that mean anything are winner take all, Sarah gets a boost in the process, especially when the moderates and independents skip the Republican side of things to vote in Democratic contests where they care about who runs for Congress or state wide office.

With just a little luck and her rabid base, Sarah can stampede the Party, and end up running with whatever poor sap is gullible enough to me her running mate.

All will be sweetness and light within the palin campaign UNTIL they have to try to win over non 20%ers.

Then it all falls apart and sarah gets a brutal lesson in being unpopular. Odds are she drags many marginally electable Republicans down with her, eswpecially as, if Republicans try to distance themselves from her they alienate the 20% and if they don't they alienate the 80%.

Here's wishing SP all the best.

Posted by: ceflynline | November 23, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

More Sarah please.

Obama is the one crazy as a loon.

Last week, our federal debt passed $12 trillion - a mind-boggling $3 trillion increase in just two years. To put this into perspective, the total value of our yearly Gross Domestic Product is around $14 trillion.
But this debt is just the tip of the iceberg.Americans have unfunded promises to pay for, retirement benefits for government employees,$38 trillion for Medicare, $7 trillion for Social Security.

The grand total of liabilities is about $60 trillion, overwhelming GDP by more than four times and exceeding our combined net worth of approximately $53 trillion.

On top of this, we are about to expand Medicare through "health care reform." Today's D.C.-speak says it pays for itself. It is another spending fraud. The sponsors use faulty accounting, calculating 10 years of increased taxes for six to seven years of health benefits. In essence, it's another Ponzi scheme, which will add another $2 trillion in debt.

Day by day, the hole the United States government, led by BO and the NeoCom Statists, is digging is getting deeper and deeper. The numbers are so large, it is beyond belief. One has to wonder how long our creditors, mostly foreigners, will continue to support this spending frenzy. Ominous signs are appearing - the traded-weighted dollar index is down about 8% so far this year while the price of gold has rocketed 30% to more than $1,100 an ounce.

Posted by: leapin | November 23, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: shrink2 | November 23, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

CC, we get it. Right-wingers love Palin, everyone else thinks she's crazy as a loon. Lets move on. PLEASE!!!

Posted by: AndyR3 | November 23, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

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