Rush Limbaugh, some Tea Party members and conservative bloggers may be unhappy with Republican establishment political maven Karl Rove for his comments dissing former Alaska Gov and Tea Party spiritual leader Sarah Palin’s chances for the White House, but a new poll finds that (once again) Rove has accurately gauged the public mood:
Sarah Palin’s interest in the presidency is not being reciprocated by most Americans: Two-thirds of registered voters in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll say she’s unqualified for the job, and more than half continue to rate her unfavorably overall.
But to some, whatever Rush Limbaugh suggests or says MUST be true (so they’ll ignore the poll or perhaps do what partisans do when they don’t like a poll: say its methodology is flawed).
Those results come after Palin, in a television interview this week, said she’d run in 2012 “if there’s nobody else to do it.” That echoed a comment in February, when she said she wouldn’t “close the door that perhaps could be open for me in the future.”
This poll, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, suggests steep challenges. Palin appears to have gained little luster from the success of the Tea Party political movement with which she’d aligned: Just 39 percent of registered voters see her favorably, the most basic measure of a public figure’s popularity. That’s essentially the same as her lows, 37 percent, last winter and spring.
Even fewer, just 27 percent, see her as qualified for the presidency, also essentially unchanged. Sixty-seven percent say she’s not qualified; this peaked at 71 percent in February.
The partisan divide is not unusual: to many Democrats and independents watching Palin for any extended time on television is an acquired taste or tolerance.
And the poll now finds that quite a few in her own party confirm Rove’s take on Palin and her chances:
While there are political and ideological divides on Palin, she faces hurdles across the board. Even in her own party, Republicans divide, 47 percent to 46 percent, on whether she’s qualified or unqualified to serve as president. Conservatives split, 45-48 percent, as do Tea Party supporters, 48-48 percent.
In only two groups do majorities see Palin as qualified – conservative Republicans, by 55-40 percent; and “strong” supporters of the Tea Party movement, by a broad 73-22 percent. (They’re a small group, one in 10 registered voters.)
While 82 percent of Democrats and 84 percent of liberals see her as unqualified, as do 70 percent of swing-voting independents and 77 percent of self-described political moderates.
After the mid-terms look for the battle to begin in ernest between the Limbaugh-Palin wing of the party (which has co-opted the original Tea Party movement which was highly critical of George W. Bush and Republicans) and the Rove-Establishment (that includes Mitt Romney who some think Rove will back) wing of the party. Limbaugh has already started taking potshots at Rove — using the same mix of sarcasm, innuendo and demonization that he has used against Democrats.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.