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Sarah Palin vs. Barack Obama: The approval gap silently shrinks to a few points

Republican Sarah Palin signs Going Rogue copies in Michigan

Not that it matters politically because obviously she's a female Republican dunce and he's obviously a male Democratic genius.

But Sarah Palin's poll numbers are strengthening.

And President Obama's are sliding.

Guess what? They're about to meet in the 40s.

Depending, of course, on which recent set of numbers you peruse and how the questions are phrased on approval or favorable, 307 days into his allotted 1,461 the 44th president's approval rating among Americans has slid to 49% or 48%, showing no popularity bounce from his many happy trips, foreign and domestic.

Virginia line for Sarah Palin Going Rogue Book buyers

Riding the wave of immense publicity and symbiotic media interest over her new book, "Going Rogue," and the accompanying promotional tour, Palin's favorable ratings are now at 43%, according to ABC. That's up from 40% in July.

One poll even gives her a 47% favorable.

Most recent media attention has focused on the 60% who say she's unqualified to become president. Her unfavorable rating is 52%, down from 53%, which still doesn't ignite a lot of optimism for Palin-lovers.

On the other hand, 35 months before the 2008 election, that Illinois senator was such a nobody that no one even thought to ask such a question about him. Things seem to change much more quickly these days.

Saturday night Palin's book bus swung by a mall in Roanoke, Va., a state Obama won a year ago but just recently elected a Republican governor to replace departing Tim Kaine, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The former Alaska governor wanted to greet the hundreds of fans already lining up in 39-degree weather for her Sunday morning signing.

"She brings out a different crowd, " Salem Republican Party Chairman Greg Habeeb told the Roanoke Times. Habeeb was struck by the numerous non-Republicans he spotted in the line snaking all over the mall. "She taps into something that the Republican Party really needs to tap into."

Sunday, Palin flew ahead of her bus to visit the Rev. Billy Graham and his son Franklin at the father's North Carolina home before her appearance today at Fort Bragg.

Overall, Palin's, well, campaign will visit 25 states, most of them politically crucial. Florida gets the most stops, three.

Everybody thinks 2012 when they think of Palin, who last week pushed Oprah's show to....

... its highest ratings in nearly three years. Remember, though, in 2012 the first hurdles a rehabbed candidate Palin would face are her own party's primaries, where diligent conservatives conscientiously come out to play. Sarah Palin Going Rogue Book Cover

If she somehow mobilized Iowa's white evangelicals as Mike Huckabee did to win the 2008 season-opening caucus, many bets would be off about her unelectability. Right now, Palin holds 65% approval among white evangelical Protestants, not a bad place to start, if she decides to.

Anyway, Palin says 2012's not on her radar. Which is a good idea. The year 2010 is much more important for both of these political personalities.

No longer holding any office and personally set financially by the book's runaway success, Palin can devote her SarahPac and the entire year to collecting chits from local Republicans.

As Mitt Romney has already been quietly doing. Other Republicans will no doubt nominate themselves to join along the way, especially if Obama looks vulnerable after November 2010.

Although presidential incumbency has hardly kept Obama chained to the Oval Office, he and Joe Biden now own the U.S. economy, where their much-vaunted $787 billion economic stimulus package has so far stimulated unemployment to grow from 8% to more than 10%.

Democrat president Barack Obama walks alone on China's Great Wall on 11-18-09

And then there's the growing deficit dread and the mounting costs -- human and financial -- in the increasingly unpopular Afghan conflict, where Obama is about to commit more U.S. troops at the end of the eighth and worst casualty year of the war.

We'll all hear much next year about how jobs are the last thing to improve in a sour economy, even in congressional districts that don't actually exist. Which is too bad for Democrats because jobs are the obvious first measure the public uses to measure the economy.

Historically, the White House party loses about 17 House seats in a normal midterm election cycle. That wouldn't change control of the House.

George W. Bush's GOP actually gained seats in 2002. Democrat Bill Clinton's first midterm election was a political Katrina, producing the Contract with America and so-called Republican revolution that saw the GOP take control of both houses of Congress after years of minority status.

Much of that turnaround was attributed to Clinton having run in 1992 as a centrist and then immediately pushed a more liberal agenda involving something called healthcare reform.

But that couldn't possibly happen again because of the popularity of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi whose current favorable poll ratings are -- let's see here -- OMG, only about half of Palin's.

Related items:

What to watch for in Sarah Palin's future

Democrats going berserk over 'Going Rogue'

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo credits: Getty Images; Keith Srakocic / Associated Press (Virginia book line); Jason Lee / Reuters (Obama walks alone on China's Great Wall). 

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I don't think that any one president has faced such dire responsibilities as a president of the United States as Barack Obama. The policies of the Republicans have left the USA in a terrible state on all fronts. Palin is a whiny quitter who knows nothing about the policies of her own party which have landed our nation in a quagmire in two wars, financial disaster, and economic ruin. She may have some obvious talking points, but the point of this article pointing out her position as being nearly as popular as Obama is an asinine as comparing a polar bear to a snow drift. She has NO responsibility. She is busy making money off her pathetic attempt at running as a loser in a vice presidential campaign in which she inspired fascist like hatred spewing out the mouths of her supporters. The saddest thing of all is that she is given so much press time, as if she had done anything at all in her life to deserve it. At least she is a pleasant, cotton candy distraction for the ignorant from the swamp that her party has landed us in.

Am I missing something? It seems like an apples-to-oranges to compare a sitting politician's favorability ratings with those of someone who is not formally running.

People are likely to consider job performance and policies in assessing a politicians' favorability rating. If you compare this with the favorability of a person who isn't formally running for office, you're more likely to get peoples' assessment of how much they personally like the individual.
to m
Put another way, Mariah Carey has very high favorability ratings, but I don't think that means people would vote to elect her President.

So it is with Sarah Palin. She may be likable to many, but she's so obviously ill-informed and unqualified to hold high office, even if you want to have her over for coffee and dessert....

At least, I hope the American public still understands that likability isn't the trait that should matter in selecting a President. Competence, good judgment, and an ability to know when to act and when not to, should be far more important.

The Bush debacle shows electing a guy because he seems like you might want to have a beer with him, was not a smart idea.

Mariah Carey has very high favorability ratings, but that doesn't mean people would vote for her to be President.

It's an apples-to-oranges comparison. A sitting politician's favorability ratings are likely to reflect the popularity of his or her actions. A non-sitting person not running for office's favorability ratings probably just reflect whether

You forgot to mention the Rasmussen Poll, which has been the most accurate in the last 2 presidential election, which shows Palin's favorable numbers at 51 percent, and 0bama's job approval rating at 47 percent. Yes, Palin's numbers are creeping upwards. By the end of December, when probably 1 or 2 million people will have read her book, 14 million watched her on 0prah, 8 million watched her on 20/20, millions listened to her interviews with Limbaugh, Levin, Ingraham, Miller, Bill O, Hannity, etc., my bet is that her favorability numbers will be in the mid to high 50's.

This media interest in Palin is really beginning to disgust me. If anyone, truly believes that a person such as Sarah Palin, who is so caught up in her hopes of, I believe, becoming president, has any chance at all is sadly mistaken. Even the Republican party is trying to find a way to get rid of her, out of the public eye, as evidenced first by the McCain people trying to "rope her in" during his run for president. No one could do it. {She has a mouth that cannot be stopped. But the problem is, that mouth says nothing of substance.} No one could keep her mouth shut, and she was PROUD OF THAT; let's just go rogue and pretend that's what people really want. I am beginning to believe there is something wrong with her, perhaps she's bipolar and I'm not making a joke of that. Often there are underlying problems with people who see themselves as 'invincible' or 'unstoppable.' Can ANYONE imagine her as president, speaking with other world leaders? She knows nothing about her own country's history, let alone any other country on the planet. She just plain does not know anything about her own country, and that is not acceptable in a person who is running for president, or even endorsing others to get into congress. I have a difficult time believing she ever, ever made it to the top position in her state. Is there no one else more qualified in Alaska? That is a frightening thought. She scares me a lot to be perfectly blunt and what's even worse is that the press is giving her as much time, if not more, as they did Paris Hilton and B. Spears. What does that say? As I said earlier, she scares me. Someone with a God complex like her should not be in any position of power and I was relieved when she resigned as Governor of Alaska. She either needs to see a doctor, as in psychiatrist, or do a major reality check to see if she's on the same planet as the rest of us.

Magdalene Mae

Palin's approval rating in terms of what? Resigning from governor an running a book tour?

Palin is a dunce, but Barack a genius? Were you on the Nobel committee too?

I would just like to say to the writer of this piece Sarah Palin is no DUNCE and that is why you see her catchingup to Obama who is by far no GEINUS and the polls and popularity for Palin speakes for itself. Let's see the geinus's job almost a year, overspending by trillions, a gimmkic car junk clunk or whatever, wishy washy on should I or shouldn't I seand troops to Iraq? AHR bill that in the end the middle class will pay for. A terrible HR bill with terrible repercussions. A President that needs to keep campaigning when he is trying to get his HR bill passed and he's beginning to sound more like a preacher, I mean have you seen him at some of these pep HR rally's. I will say this a lot of people go to Harvard and have a vast education and that does not make you a geinus ,it just makes you highly educated and I baelieve any one with ambition could go if they want it. Hillary Clinton and Bill are even more popular than Obama. I tell you journalist Sarah Palin has something you don't even know of and it' brilliant and she is not going anywhere and in fact people are starting to like her more and more and she is catching on fire for what she stands for. Obama was only a freshman Senator for barely 2 years and his inexperience and incompetence is showing and that's why if there were an election today he would lose. I hope and believe as Sarah Paling goes along she is going to gain mor momentum and who heard of Barrack Obama 3 years ago before the primaries I didn't . He was not well known and the same is happening here Sarha Palin is getting stronger and stronger evryday and I hope she challanges him in 2012. Look at all the polls a lot of highly educated white men know longer support Obama and the Seniors don't. Don't be fooled there is a huge grassroots movement in this country and it's moving like fire in a California blaze. Sarha Palin is indeed gaining and that in and of itself is brilliant. Mary Ann p.s. I forgot Obama's dumb Massachuesetts cop comment and beer at the WH. He has said and sone some dumb things.

Excuse me , I ment should I or shouldn't I send troops to Afghanistan not Iraq. Mary Ann

Just how much more sexist could you be on this topic of a republican female, Andrew -("Not that it matters politically because obviously she's a female Republican dunce and he's a male Democrat genius.")? Sorry dude, you slip is showing.

If Sarah Palin is a nobody compared to "His Emminent Genius" why are you reporting her popularity. Will you be able to shame people from liking her ??

Why is the " Blessed One " so completely innefective even as a Nobel Lauareate?

Is the air leaking out of his costume?

Andrew Malcolm, it is obvious that you are one of the obnoxious followers of Queen Pelosi but somewaht more ignorant and childish to use name calling. " Republican Dunce", grow up!

Regarding Sarah Palin's and B Obama's approval ratings...pretty good for a "dunce", not so good for a "genius".

The idea of hunger can be literal or figurative. Reflect upon one experience in your life when you have felt hunger, literally or figuratively.


4 Very Effective Writer
The very effective writer demonstrates a clear mastery of all of the following descriptors: use of standard written English, awareness of purpose and audience, construction of a clear, well supported thesis, use of relevant accurate details that are properly cited when necessary, and can clearly organize an essay that best suits the writer’s purpose.

1. Prompt:
The idea of hunger can be literal or figurative. Reflect upon one experience in your life when you have felt hunger, literally or figuratively.

2. Photo Reaction/reflection—essay.
Photo must be a personal one.

3. Journal about visual arguments and images that are designed for public consumption. Consider messages—implicit and explicit.

Keep calling Palin a dunce and the man that's destroying the country a genius. Yeah, that'll work very well at uniting Americans in digging America out of this hole.

Somehow I find it difficult to use the word intellectual with anything associated with California, which should be renamed "The Moron State"

Republican dunce? You are offending more than 50% of the population with that comment. No wonder your industry is dying, and you know what? I couldn't be happier!!!

Sounds like an unbiased beginning to this article. Give me Fox News any day! Way to go Sarah!

If the media had treated Obama as they did Sarah Palin, he would not be sitting in the White House today. He'd probably be selling hot dogs on the Miracle Mile.

Try thinking objectively for a minute. Would Sarah Palin have been given a pass on her racist, anti-Semitic, anti-American pastor? Would she have been allowed to hang out with homegrown terrorists like Ayers? Or does she have a point, when mentioning Joe Biden's frequent gaffs when discussing the Depression (and more)? Does the media put Obama on the cover of magazines in his shorts? Do they show us when he is chain-smoking? No, the media has decided they are going to write history and they like Obama.

Obama may be smart academically but he has shown, so far, to be a dunce when it comes to real life. He has done nothing but make speeches about how he plans on doing all these great things. But he has produced zero results.

The best use for this Los Angeles Times opinion page is for escrement training for my new puppy. You all must be on drugs to think that Sarah Palin is a dunce and BO is a genius. The only thing that's a fact here is that you left wing crackheads are VERY, VERY AFRAID of Miss Palin.

So she's a dunce - well at least she can speak without a teleprompter. And the crowds she gathers she never had to offer free food and a rock band (something your paper and none of the other media outlets bothered to report). And like all liberals you offer "facts' without proof. You say "Obama is briliant" - but the idiot won't release any of his grades, scholarly papers, and work from the Harvard Review to "show us his brilliance". It is strange that when he was at the University of Chicago he never once attended any of the round tables and seminars even though he was invited, maybe because he would have picked up on the act. Read the American Thinker, they have been putting a compendium of Obama witticisms - by looking at them one would think he was Yogi Berra. But most of you liberal readers ad you who control this blog will look at it but just say: Sarah Palin is a dunce, because the fact that all of you were conned by a charming poltroon is beyond you own imagination. If this reality became clear, you would have to double your prescription of Prozac or you would "slit your throats" because of the humiliation.

Male Democrat genius, really?

wow way to start the article calling palling a dunce and obama a genious. well how is tha genious working for you!
ask the soldier in afghanistan how is that genious 84 day decision and counting is working for them! ask the unemployed how is that genious working to fix the economy.

If he's the genius you claim, let's see the standardized test scores and his academic record. Pleasing voice , but an empty suit.

Please, please please...All Democrats WANT Palin to run in 2012. If the Republicans are stupid enough to make her their nominee, than this moron liar will lose in a LANDSLIDE to President Obama. Plus, she's such an idiot she AMUSES us, and we can use the entertainment.

Actually, the prior paragraph was written in bad faith.

There seems to be a rule on the Inter-tubes that in every Palin thread, the 1st comment must be some variant of the above, so I thought I'd oblige. Now maybe the DNC/"progressive"/Daily Kos drones will have think up something new.

In the unlikely circumstance that they have the capacity to think.

very unbiased reporting a political dunce against a political genious. have you seen his asian tour. a total flop. as usual because of democratic spending china owns us. instead of bowing to japan he should have bowed to china who with our debt owns us. within a few years they will be telling us what we need to do. genious i say carter redux pathetic!

She has more experience than Obama. She is not an arrogant, narcissist like Obama. She is refereshing and honest. And while she may noy make a good president I think people are beginning to realize that almost anyone would be better than what we have now.

I wonder how high her ratings would be if the major media outlets and feminists supported her and reported on her in a more positive light, like they do with Nancy, Hillary, etc.

What a well-balanced and well written article. Thanks, LAT!

Andrew Malcolm said: "Not that it matters politically because obviously she's a female Republican dunce and he's a male Democrat genius."
Andrew, are you sure that you don't have that reversed? Obama looks more like a dunce every day.
And your partisan chauvinism is so juvenile, it is laughable.

The next wave to come, after an honest America-loving political candidate, will be the resurgence of real reporters who can detail happenings without their personal bias. That will also be a wonderful, retro-American happening.

What a great lede. I know it's tongue-in-cheek, sort of, but it's actually a great illustration. Every Republican is a "duce" and every Democrat a "genius," even one like Gore who failed out of two colleges, one like Clinton who couldn't finish his Rhodes scholarship, or one like John Kerry who was actually below George W. Bush's GPA at Yale. If you want to illustrate the bias, ask someone to name a dumb Democrat. They never can. They're all brilliant!

"Not that it matters politically because obviously she's a female Republican dunce and he's a male Democrat genius".

Real cute opening words. Thise words are just the kind to make you understand why the LA Times, like the NY Times is a media of the past.

"Dunce." My N-key sticks. Well, gave people who don't want to deal with the substance something to nitpick -- or "itpick."

It seems, therefore, that the 2012 doomsday event---end of the political worldview---has arrived early, and that you can make book on it.

Your opening should have read. Even thought she is a respectable, classy Republican and Obambi is a liar and marxist.....

Then we would have some accuracy.

You have the unmitgated gall to call Palin a "dunce" when Barack Obama has shown he has the judgement of a drunk adolescent. Palin proved herself in her many "executive" roles in Alaska. Obama never ran a hot dog stand. On top of that, he hates America. Go ahead and continue your insane rantings...journalism is dead precisely because of crap articles like this and anyone in the public with half a brain is waking up to that fact.

Yes, Obama is a genius.
That's why the economy is in the tank, bipartisanship (what he sold himself on) if in ruin, he can't make a decision on Afganistan and the country is experience the worse racial, political, socioeconomical tensions in decades.
If this is the best you can get from a genius, give me Palin any day.

Stay on this. It's only going to get mroe interesting.

Stay on this. It's only going to get mroe interesting.

"Not that it matters politically because obviously she's a female Republican dunce and he's a male Democrat genius."

When I first read this, I thought, how bias can these people get? The lefties will eat this up! Then I read the rest of the article and the last line tells me that it was tongue in cheek and you were playing not just to the left base. With that first line you will attract many readers...good job!

Palin will run and with Romney a the VP Obama and Bitten don't stand a chance.

The more the morally corrupt left hates her, the more real Americans love her.

Does not translate. Clear the air before you speak. Before I accept your article as a guide for things to be, I'd need to see these polls and other sources. She is not mature enough to handle the proposed job. Have you not already seen the Peter Principle in action?
People who line up to get a signed book, meet a person who is in the news, gawk, etc. does not mean they endorse her. Nor does meeting someone. I'm a sucker for collecting autographed books even I differ with the author but I believe I'll pass on this one.

The dunce here is the idiotic and obviously ignorant writer of this essay. Male Democrat genius? You've got to be kidding. Obama is a stammering idiot who would be lost without a teleprompter. This has to be the worst administration ever and it is trying to destroy America. Unfortunately, there are too many people who don't even see through all the deceitful ploys that this administration is perpetuating on American citizens.

LA Times: I think you got the first line backwards?

Not that it matters politically because obviously she's a female Republican genius and he's a male Democrat dunce!

Let me get this straight in my mind? Sarah Palin's poll numbers are sky rocketing and President Obama's are cratering and you say she is a 'dunce' and he is a 'genius'?

What 'genius' at the LA Times came up with that lead as the top of the ticket?

You go Sarah Palin!

Good lord. I guess it's time to get the passport ready in case she gets elected and I have to move out of this country in a hurry...

Great article with well-placed sarcasm. Enjoyed it!

female Republican dunce???? Don't you "geniuses" understand that everytime you pull this garbage, her poll numbers increase? So far, the "Democrat geniuses" are running our once great economy into the ground. You "brainiacs" are now telling us that 10 percent unemployment is here to stay (of course, you complained violently about 5 percent unemployment under Bush, but those are details none of you "einsteins" care much about - those, and facts). Deficits are rising, layoffs increasing, the wealthy are heading for the hills, entrepreneurial spirit is imploding, Afghanistan is becoming a killing field for our boys (all while our genius man-boy dithers), foreign nations are pushing us around, and still, the dutiful and "edumacated: drones in the MSM continue their tact of covering up their failures and assassinating the characters of detractors. The LA Times should consider something a bit more profitable than news - I hear your paper is much more apt to be used as toilet paper for dogs than for serious journalism.

By what criteria have you concluded that Obama is a genius and Palin is a dunce? Personal feelings, hope, change? Oh, I get it now. Obama is a democrat genius because he is following a well planned agenda without reguard for the citizens of the USA. Oh yeah, that is very democratic. In fact that is the very definition of democratic. I see your point. That must mean that Sara is a republican dunce because she is not following the same mold that has other republican candidates have. Oh that makes total sense now. I am glad we had this little talk.

You have some interesting facts in your story. You just make a mockery of journalism. Why can't you just report the facts? You do not have to tell us what to think. Oh, I see now, that would go against your agenda. Sorry, my mistake.

I was really hoping to read more about why Obama's numbers are tanking. Apparently, it's the elephant in the room everyone's avoiding...pun intended. Sarah Palin's star power is interesting but our President's competence (or lack thereof) is what matters and is affecting the American people.

Sunday's Rasmussen poll: Obama 48% Fav, 52% UnFav

Rasmussen poll from one week ago: Palin 51% Fav, 43% UnFav

Rasmussen was the most accurate poll in the 2008 election

Just sayin....

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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