Nobody Likes Sarah

February 11, 2010 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

Sarah Palin must be the most-polled political figure who doesn’t even hold office, but as long as we’re going to get relentless coverage of her it’s good to get data like this.

Palin’s more popular in her own party — 69 percent of Republicans see her favorably. But far fewer, 37 percent, do so “strongly.” (By contrast, in an ABC/Post poll last month, 70 percent of Democrats had a strongly favorable opinion of Barack Obama.) More problematic for Palin is that even in her own party 52 percent think she’s not qualified for the presidency — up by 16 points from an ABC/Post poll in November, shortly before the publication of her memoir, in which she criticizes the strategy of the 2008 Republican presidential campaign.

Full results here. Palin’s been the beneficiary of some magical thinking from pundits and reporters, as evidenced very well in David Broder’s silly column that shares space with this poll today. It was always obvious that by bailing out of the only powerful job she’d held, Palin was attempting to become a celebrity pol — the kind of candidate that conservatives accused Barack Obama of being, when they groused about the media not examining him enough and spending too much time promoting his “narrative” of unity and change. The problem is that Palin, who has been unpopular for all but one month of her time on the national scene (from joining the GOP ticket to the Couric interviews,) has used her post-gubernatorial career to whine and score-settle and not — as the defenders said she had to — talk about policy in any serious way. Instead she’s filibustered about “common-sense” politics, a silly dodge that’s as old as politics itself.

Anyway, here’s what Bill Kristol wrote in The Washington Post when Palin resigned.

She has fervent supporters, which would presumably help her in primaries and caucuses. Among the general public, she has a not-great but not-unmanageable 45-44 favorability rating.

That was in a June Pew poll. Seven months later, she’s got a 37-55 favorability rating. And here’s Matt Continetti writing when Palin’s book hit the shelves.

Independents are a different story. These are the folks who decide presidential elections, and they are divided on Ms. Palin. In last month’s Gallup poll, Ms. Palin had a 48% unfavorable and 41% favorable rating among independents. Not good, but not insurmountable. Flip those percentages, and they could be serving moose burgers in the White House in 2013.


Six percent of Democrats now consider her qualified for the presidency, a drop from 22 percent in November; the percentage of independents who think she is qualified fell to 29 percent from 37 percent.

But if she finds a way to move up 21 points, they could be serving moose burgers in the White House!