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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). 

Comments () | Archives (492)

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"male Democrat genius"...don't you mean to say "African-American male Democrat genius"?

Sexist diatribe. The problem is with your premise: Republicans don't suck; arrogant, willfully ignorant, narrow-minded people suck. Whatever they affiliate themselves with. There are a lot of thoughtful, balanced Americans on all sides, but their voices are drowned out by the lunatics and attention whores -- And they get more press. Especially by adolescents like you fumbling at their zipper over Obama.

Pay attention. I'm the moderate Liberal you fear. :)

That 1st sentence is offensive.

Maybe by Democrat standards he's a genius, he's certainly smarter than those who voted for him, but Obama's done nothing but ride the Great White Guilt Wave. How do I know? I read his book, where he admits wasting $500,000 developing a jobs program that yielded zero jobs (sound familiar).

The man can't make a coherent sentence without a teleprompter - compare to Palin, who's greatest moments were when her's broke down. She actually accomplished things, he only used others and took the glory.

Palin's no dummy. She's smart, charming, and effective. She doesn't 'move slowly and smile a lot' to manipulate the public (that's right form his book, folks). She's genuine, and not owned by 'the mob'.

She's like Perot. Fresh air and don't care; a role model for what politicians should be. Her numbers may stay where they are, but his will keep right on falling as America realizes that not all change is good.

I'd vote for Palin in a heartbeat... As a matter of fact, let's put together a great ticked. Sarah Palin, and Alan Keyes, in 2012....

Obama a genius??? This guys an empty suit with a silver tongue. His genius is that he pulled the wool over 60% of the voters who are mainly clueless anyway. This is a "minority get even administration" run by a Chicago neighborhood rabble rouser who's a Socialist/Marxist by his own admission. The old say is that, "you are known by the company you keep." In this case is Marxists, Communists, and people who are actually enemies of the US.

I guess no matter how you try and spin the Obama Presidency so far, the facts tell us that the first year has been a disaster; unemployment over 10%, TARP money spent with virtually no return on the investment, the housing market continues to go south, the indecision to send troops to Afgahnistan, the bad decision to hold the terrorist trial in NY, the healthcare debacle, deficits of over a trillion dollars in the first year, the radical picks to his cabinet and the czars, and the constant appologetic nature of the administration. It's too early to pick a contender but with fact like this maybe S. Pallin could walk right in. Probably on her worst day, it would be better that Obamas best.

You are comparing Sarah Palin to a dunce & calling BO a genius? Let's get you in for a IQ test because you might actually be the idiot. Obama is in political danger & so is the Democrat party. Why don't you stop worrying about Sarah Palin & worry about the billions your state is in the hole. If fact, writing garbage like this is probably why no one wants to buy newsprint anylonger. You don't understand being a real American because you live in Ca., the land of porn, worthless celebrities, taxes, rolling blackouts & a population with a collective IQ of about 71. Just enough on one side of the line to keep you from being considered retarded.

We are finding that Obama is the dunce and Palin is the brainiac. Obama looks smart because he PARROTS co-called smart people. He doesn't have one original thought.

And don't give me that "He went to Harvard" bit. One can be "book smart" and 'common sense stupid'. There are plenty of those kind of people at Harvard, Yale and Berkeley. Obama is definitely lacking any common sense.

He is going to be a one-termer. Too bad it isn't 2013 now.

I hardly think Sarah a dunce and maybe she is not running for president-who knows, but lets be sensible about this-she has a following much larger than the media shows-she has a good philosophy-don't see any criminals or America haters lurking in the background-she is more atuned to American life, with American family problems which many women can relate to-how many Mother's have faced her child's pregnancy, but didn't hide it-I think she's a lot smarter than people know, but it's what she represents that is so likable and refreshing. Hillary Clinton never gave you the warm & fuzzy family feeling, nor does the Obama family-Sarah is warm, whereas the Clintons & Obamas are cold people, more interested in photo-ops. Sarah gets attention because she is real, from the real American life, not the beltway-and that is the change America was seeking in 2008, the changing of the beltway and what we got is a path to socialism-a president who will make a decision made by someone else. That someone else will take the downfall when necessary and he will take the credit when things go well. We want real people in government, not what we now have-we want people who actually live as we do, we want people who have the same problems that we do-we want true family people in government, not the socially elite. And Sarah is an average American who journeyed into politics because she wanted to see change, not the good old boy way of thinking and working. So let's give her credit for being a real American. She may not even be running for political office; maybe she only wants to stay in the background. She is also getting attention because those against her know exactly what she represents and they are afraid of her-when the libs give attention to someone, you know that person is worthy of your attention because it shows their fears. McCain lost the election because he didn't let Sarah be Sarah-she was just more loved by the people than McCain. She does not need to micromanaged. Sarah was the best part the McCain campaign-he got votes because of her. Had he let her do her thing, he might have been president-she would have shown ua what Obama is!

We are finding that Obama is the dunce and Palin is the brainiac. Obama looks smart because he PARROTS so-called smart people. He doesn't have one original thought of his own.

And don't give me that "He went to Harvard" bit. One can be "book smart" and 'common sense stupid'. There are plenty of those kind of people at Harvard, Yale and Berkeley. Obama is definitely lacking any common sense.

He is going to be a one-termer. Too bad it isn't 2013 now.

She's a political dunce and unqualified, and Obama is a genius? Are you kidding? Obama has yet to prove that he is truly qualified. He hasn't shown that he's capable of anything except to show us his backside, spend our money, make this nation a third world, and kiss the hands of those who hate us. He keeps his records sealed tighter than a drum because he wants to hide the fact that he blew off his education, and recipient of help from those who hate this nation. With Governor Palin, at least I know that she's capable of doing the job of being the chief executive of Alaska. With Obama, all I know is that for this state, he's done squat. Voted present in overwhelming number of opportunities, late for meetings, and an admitted cocaine abuser. I'd rather work with a humble leader who's fully transparent than this empty suit whose arrogance oozes through the sentences of your article.

Obama's a genius? Look at your city and state. That's what liberal "genius" gets you. A broke down state that has to issue IOUs.

The writer of this article is the dunce, & I have no idea where people get the idea that BHO is a genius. Because he obviously can't think for himself or come up with an original idea!

"she's a female Republican dunce and he's a male Democrat genius."
Dunce and genius?
I din't notice any geniuses in this article, and the only dunce is its writer.

I find it very interesting that you show your political ignorance by labeling Gov Palin a "dunce" and Pres Obama a "genius." The common media "wisdom" about Sarah Palin couldn't be farther from the truth. Perhaps you should actually listen to HER (rather than Tina Fey's SNL portrayal) and maybe you'd see that she's not the idiot you seem to think she is.

Conservatives obviously have a VERY different opinion of Gov Palin than you do, given the crowds she has been drawing. And THEY are the ones who will determine her electability.

The male Democrat genius who said he visited 57 states?

I do not get why everyone is so afraid of this woman if she is such an idiot as the news media proclaims. If she is so irrelevant, then ignore her. By giving her all this press coverage, you are only making her more relevant and people will begin to accept her.

The opening line to this story tells it all - the newsroom joke hakcs share around the water-cooler. But the pseudo-cool is devolving into an awkward moment. They are rapidly becoming the guy who didn't get the email that Pollock jokes aren't cool anymore. Remember, liberals are a group that defines themselves by those they mutually hate, and Sarah is at the top of the list.

Sarah has what the president and Congress lacks - common sense. The same common sense the rest of us have to use when we balance our checkbooks and make decisions on future purchases. She may not have the presidency on the radar for 2012, but I think she'd be a great running mate again. After having observed Obama for over a year, it is clear the only advantage he may have is shooting hoops.

Go Sarah Go

THis country needs your insight and fresh political perspective rather thatn the socialism that the liberals/comminustgs are promoting.

Although this article is extremely biased, you could sum up Palin's popularity in just one sentence. It is to say, that Barack Obama with his socialist policies is so terrible that anyone could become popular at this stage.
Unless Obama pulls a big miracle out of his hat, any one of several Republicans will beat him in 2012; including Palin.

An insightful article. Thanks for the even-handed view.

Despite anyone's opinion, is the first line of the article really objective or necessary? I'm no fan of Palin, but as soon as I read a line like that, the whole article becomes irrelevant.

Are you kidding me ?? YOu call this Political Commentary ??

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

What is this a kindergarten name calling contest ?? I dont even like Palin but you have scientific proof shes an idiot ?? And that Barack is a "GENIUS" ?? get a life you sad exscuse for a journalist !! Report news.. thats what we need right now !!

Obama a genius ?? Are you kidding me ? he has done NOTHING except mess this country up and we have only seen the beginning. And it is LIARS and FAKERS like you that got him elected. Have fun in your Obama-Community-Utopia you idiot !! And if you can call American politicians idiots then so can you !! if it was up to me youd be fired and digging holes in the dirt for a living... thats what you are good for !! My 12 yo daughter could have done a better job writing this article !!!

Wow, this is the "news" portion of the LATimes? First sentence under the Palin pic should be in Opinion. No wonder your paper is going under. No balance!

Obama a democratic genius? Please tell me where that has appeared. Economy, Foreign Policy, bringing us together: All Failures. With this perspective and run by Libs no wonder California is going under too.

Thank you for your lovely comments and views on how divided our country is. Your continued efforts to criticize a woman who so happens to have the same charisma that your annointed one have, befuddles me. Alongside the hard work and efforts by the "liberals" endless passion in extinguishing what essentially is, a WORKING MOM, I congratulate you all on such a wonderful job you're doing. I truly now see (myself an immigrant too, thank you), where the American people's priorities are--a big popularity contest with little substance.

As our infamous Mr. Rodney King would say, "...can't we all just get along?"

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

Where to start? Why the anti-women spew? It's satisfying to see how scared unhinged liberals are of Sarah Palin. And Obama a genius?? At what? Looking at his policies and choice of appointments, at best he's a slightly dumber version of Jimmy Carter.

Dopey opines like this only energize Tea Party folks. Thank you for helping elect President Palin in 2012!

Well, at least you are no longer trying to hide your bias. Kudos for that. Considering your man is as fiscally responsible as an abusive alcoholic with no credit line, that's pretty funny that you call HER a dunce.

His main problem is he has no clue how to go about doing anything that needs be done.

Oh yeah he can sell snowballs to eskimos. But he has no snow!

There is a new book idea from all of this. "Going Berzerk: How the American Left Soiled itself on the Coming Out of Sarah Palin."

President Obama coined a phrase about the left's reaction to Sarah Palin after she put out "death panels" on her Facebook page. He reminded everyone of the previous August and alluded to the reaction of liberals to Sarah Palin as being "wee wee'd up."

Well, if you look at how wee wee'd off the reactions of Martha Stewart or the wee wee poor journalism of Norah O'Donnell (another victim of an on air meltdown directly related to PDS) are, it's quite apparent the liberals are soiling themselves, wetting themselves and drooling all over themselves.

We should be more politically correct and start calling liberals "politicos with special needs."

Some female dunce. Some male genuius. I would like to see the results of I.Q. tests given to both of them by independent researchers. Also, how about a battery of tests from English to math, to world history? I suspect, she'd clobber him in English and history, and probably math too.

President Photo-op may be the world's slickest TelePrompter reader, but after nine months, that act is wearing thin. And to all the professional photographers still depicting him with halos (always something circular behind his head, and sometimes lights around his head), your game is wearing thin, too. We get it. You want us to subliminally register him as a god, angel, avatar, messiah, or saint. His history indicates quite the opposite, however, and this kind of manipulation is incredibly unethical.

Whatever happend to just reporting the facts, without trickery or bias? Did it ever exist? The Obama cult is demented and embarrassing, but a potential Palin cult isn't necessarily preferable. If these two are our choices in 2012, I may stay home and not vote . . . again.

"she's a female Republican dunce and he's a male Democrat genius" - you're joking, right? Her IQ is probably higher than most all reporters (and I wouldn't be surprised if it's higher than Obama's), and to say he's a "genius" you must not have seen him without the TOTUS.

It's easy to have great poll numbers when you haven't made any decisions. Look at how Obama's numbers were when he took office. As soon as things start happening, someone will always not agree!!! One reason I think Obama is probably doing a good job is that the far left isn't happy and neither is the far right! Time will tell if he has made the right choices, just like time will tell if Palin is a qualified candidate for 2012 or just a great news story to attract viewers/readers.

Female Republican "dunce"?
Male Democrat "genius"?

I am not sure and really don't care where the author's political or gender biases lean but main points of the article, surprisingly informative with FACTS for the LA Times, speak for themselves....

The bloom is OFF the rose of Obama and his cult..and Palin has ALREADY weathered more blistering and uncalled for attacks by BOTH the mainstream media and the Democratic party..something Obama NEVER HAS done and NEVER WOULD ALLOW himself to do because, well, he is Obama...the male Democrat "genius".


Dunce? Wow. You Democrats seriously need to get over yourself. I didn't vote for Obama, but he is obviously an intelligent man. I didn't sign onto the McCain/Palin ticket either... but, neither of them are dumb. The average person is really getting fed up with all the partisan demagoguery. We just want the truth, please.

Your male democrat genius is driving this country to bankrupcy faster than you can say Saul Alinsky. This guy is so unqualified to lead this nation it's not even funny. The only reason he sounds articulate is the ever-present teleprompter. Take that away and he sounds like Bush. Two years in the Senate voting "present" on every issue does not qualify a person to lead anything. Your dear "closet muslim" is in for a rude awakening in 2012.

Notice the very first line in the story.. Nice to see you spineless libs running scared. You all cry like a bunch babies when you have no credible come back. Just like Obama.... Never once did I hear W cry over and over and over again how Clinton left him a mess with Bin Laden. So keep crying... Everyone is watching. I love it.

"Most recent media attention has focused on the 60% who say she's unqualified to become president."

Soooo, a one term state senator and half term US senator is more qualified than a former mayor and state governor?

Ha! Unfortunately, we're all finding out how qualified he actually is.

And don't forget, George Washington was pretty unqualified to be President too...

Have a look. The URL for this post is:

Read it. It says, "..not that it matters because shes a republican idiot and hes a democrat genius but sara palins poll numbers are..."

That's one for the L.A. Times ombudsman for sure. Media partisanship is endemic among the smug leftists who work for outlets like the L.A. Times.

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

Are you kidding me?!

Obama's campaign was brilliantly run, but his presidency earns the dunce cap. I smell a one-termer.

Female Republican "dunce?" Be careful, your PDS is showing. If she was such a "dunce," not a threat, or not worthy of consideration, why do you left-wing loons feel it necessary to continue your vitriol toward Sarah?

Oh, and Obama's a "genius?" By whose standards? Obama has no clue what he's doing, and has an abject disdain for our troops. He deserves no respect from anyone. Hell, even the Chinese are telling Barry to slow down on the spending.

When was the last time in recorded history a communist country warned THE U.S. about too much socialism?

The first line of the article tells it all. It is obviously written by a liberal hack. Calling someone a DUNCE that you don;t agree with is terrible journalism.

Get a life, state the facts, and don;t let your political opinion cloud the truth.

This is why the media in the US is under attack.

This article is almost funny. Is Sarah running for any office? No! Is she doing anything except promoting her book? NO! Are the liberals scared skinny of her? YES! And why is the Times attacking her with the first sentence of their article by calling her a dunce?? Just can't help themselves I guess. Scared,scared, scared that the American people can actually relate to her mindset and love her middle class attitude. I guess liberals think middle class America are dunces too. WOW! Come on America, she needs our support in whatever she decides to do. Go Sarah...

Yep. She's the worst possible choice for President in 2012 - except for the current President.

It's interesting to contrast them:

He's intelligent, smooth, well read and spoken, campaigns to the center and governs to the left, has a problem admitting to his past associations and has no executive experience.

She is intelligent, smooth, reads mainly conservative titles, campaigns to the right and stays there, has no problem admitting who she is and has recent executive experience.

As I see it, the most obvious difference is who reads what and who's honest about who they are. It'll be a *really* interesting election in 2012..

What is it about Sarah Palin that makes her a dunce? And Barack Husein Obama is far from a genius. He is by far the worst president in the history of this country. Honestly, each day I wake up only to read the news and see what other idiotic idea he has come up with. And when I see cars with Obama stickers, I know to steer clear because the drivers are certainly as brainless as the man they support.


Palin / Bachman 2012!

What is it about Sarah Palin that makes her a dunce? And Barack Husein Obama is far from a genius. He is by far the worst president in the history of this country. Honestly, each day I wake up only to read the news and see what other idiotic idea he has come up with. And when I see cars with Obama stickers, I know to steer clear because the drivers are certainly as brainless as the man they support.

Perhaps the ugly lies and smears will stop and people will actually look at her record in Alaska and Obama's lack of one in Illinois.


Sarah is our gal.

This clown IS NOT a genius! Why the HELL do you media types keep telling the LIE that Obama is a genius!? HE is an idiot that can't put two words together on his own! He is a GREAT READER, but genius this moron is NOT!

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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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