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Posted by on Nov 13, 2008 in Politics | 1 comment

Gallup Poll: No Public Groundswell For Palin As National Political Figure


Former Republican Vice Presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin almost requires her own cable channel due to her slew of recent interviews, press conferences and the overall media attention that she’s getting. Why the sudden flurry of Palin activity?

One factor is that Palin is now free of her McCain campaign handlers.

Some wonder if the other factor could be an effort to solidify her Republican support with an eye on the 2012 race. Actually, what’s more likely is because of polling data such as this new poll from Gallup:

Just 45% of Americans would like to see Sarah Palin become a major national political figure for many years to come, while a slight majority of 52% say they would not. These sentiments are sharply divided along partisan political lines.

Over three-quarters of Republicans would like to see the former vice-presidential nominee and current governor of Alaska become a major national political figure in the years ahead, in sharp contrast to the 43% of independents and 20% of Democrats who share that attitude.

That doesn’t bode well for Palin if she has ambitions beyond Governor or being elected to Congress.

[For another take on Palin be sure to read TMV Columnist Tony Campbell’s post HERE.]

Her support from independent voters is weak and she joins George Bush in the South Pole in terms of popularity among Democrats. As this election indicated, political parties will likely have to start taking into account candidates’ cross over appeal: the days when political parties can afford to hitch their futures to nominating nationally polarizing candidates may be — if not over — on the wane…particularly as younger voters not cemented to Baby Boomer-derived divisions begin to gain a greater foothold on the polity.

That may explain why Palin — perhaps the most partisan and polarizing of the four candidates on either of the two Presidential tickets — has now issued a call for something she was not noted to epitomize during the election season: bipartisanship:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Thursday argued that she and her fellow Republican governors were ready to put aside “extreme partisanship” and act if Washington fails to provide the leadership America needs.

Speaking at her first formal news conference before the national media since the GOP presidential ticket lost last week, the former vice presidential nominee argued that her fellow Republican governors “don’t let obsessive, extreme partisanship … get in the way of doing what’s right.”

“I think that this group is going to be looked to and looked at for leadership that perhaps had been lacking in Congress and in Washington, D.C.,” she said. “This group is going to be uniquely qualified to provide leadership in this nation.”

Palin indicated she is trying to put distance between her campaign persona and the statements she made ASAP and blaming reminders of what she said on the media — a tactic used by politicians for years who see past pronoucements as obstacles to future ambitions:

Palin also criticized the media for wanting to “dissect the past” and “playing the pundit’s role” for the 2012 presidential campaign.

“As far as we’re concerned, the past is the past,” said Palin. “We’re focused on the future. [The future] is next year, and our next budgets, and the next reforms in our states.”

Asked why she chose to hold her first formal news conference now, Palin replied, “The campaign is over.”

The larger issue raised by her comments is this: how — more than ever — are Americans supposed to believe what politicians say during campaigns when after hinting that an opponent is unpatriotic, hangs around with terrorists, etc. when the campaign is over people are then told to basically forget rhetoric that made it sound as if the Republican might be in danger if an opponent is elected. So in the future should voters simply keep this in mind and dismiss when it comes up during a campaign any future dire warnings about why the other ticket has dangerous candidates and another ticket is the country’s only safe choice?

Palin will likely continue to be reminded of her campaign statements until she accumulates a reservoir of new statements and actions to document that she is more than a talk-radio culture politician mired in the kind of divide and rule politics that many voters cast ballots against a week ago.

More from Gallup:

Palin has been much in evidence since the Republican ticket’s defeat on Election Day, appearing in interviews on NBC’s “Today” show, Fox News, and CNN. Palin is also slated to give a major address to the Republican Governors Association meetings in Miami Thursday, followed by a press conference.

Palin’s post-election media appearances certainly fuel speculation that she is interested in playing a major role on the national political scene in the years ahead, perhaps by running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 or 2016, or for the U.S. Senate from Alaska. The data reviewed above, from the Nov. 7-9 USA Today/Gallup poll, suggest that she has a way to go to convince the average American that her presence would be a positive addition to the crowded political landscape.

It could be argued that Palin is a safe bet in 2012 Republican primaries. But if polls continue to show he weak among Democrats and independents, she could face challengers who show decent strength among GOPers AND strength among Democrats and independents. So she will have to change her image — and that can only be done by building a new history of thoughtful statements and bipartisan actions.

Cartoon by Christo Komarnitski, Bulgaria

UPDATE: Be sure to read Jerry Remmers’ take on Palin.

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