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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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Palin is a winner. We have a loser for president , who, through flim flam somehow got enough idiots to vote for him. We will begin to see the incompetence of the Democrat party and liberalism very brightly from here on out.

A dunce huh! At least Sarah Palin doesn't need a telepromter to communicate. GO SARAH!

I think he was being sarcastic about Palin being a "dunce," taking a shot a the liberal establishment who hope to portray her as such.

Palin is a threat to everything liberals hold sacred!

This "authors" very IMMATURE, FIRST sentence makes the rest of the article IRRELEVANT !
I didn't even bother to read this rest...what a waste, this MIGHT have been an interesting article...but MANY people won't even bother to read it because the BLATANT BIAS !

Oh yeah...there is "no liberal media bias" LMAO !


Worst. President. Ever.

Nero fiddles as circulation numbers decline. Maybe the Times will get it when they're bankrpt.

He was being sarcastic! Read it again...

I wouldn't dream of voting for Sarah Palin but any article that begins, "Sarah Palin is a female Republican dunce" and "Barack Obama is a male democratic genuis" is exactly the kind of journalistic snobbery that makes Palin endearing to so many. Cut out the absurd editorializing and just report the fact that the gap between the two is narrowing.

the bias in your opening line is remarkable. nice job on the objectiveness.

This poll must have come out before a large number of her own suppoters booed and called her a "QUITER" when she never showed up for her promised book signing.

The people had bought a book or two that they had to buy from Barnes and Noble that has little in the way of discounts.

When she didn't show up, several people said they would bring the books back and never suppoter her again.

The glow is coming off Palin for a lot of Republicans because of her arrogance and self-dealing.

At first I read the opening salvo and figured it was a typical LA Times cheap shot too. But after reading the article it seems to be sarcasm instead of insult. I could be wrong, but is the LA Times becoming "fair and balanced?" When it comes to Sarah Palin, the left has become totally unhinged. What is it about a woman that actually IS following the Feminist agenda (the original one) that the left can't stomach? Is it that the left really is sexist after all and can't handle someone who actually walks the walk?

Genius? Its the Econmy stupid.... nero Fiddling while rome burs

The instant a "reporter" brings his personal bias into a story I stop reading. After his dunce comment everything else in the article becomes suspect and I move on. I don't know why he bothered to write it, it's no longer worth reading.

Does anyone know what qualified obama to be a president, let alone a Senator? Just asking!

What have you done with the LA Times??? We should start looking for pods, or something.

Although a friend of mine called it right early this year: he predicted that as soon as Obama's popularity dropped under 50%, the media would turn on him like the corrupt whores they are.

Let the fun begin!

"she's a female Republican dunce and he's a male Democrat genius."
and you are a fool!

So her approval rate is going up. Since she is no longer in politics what do people approve of? The way she handles a book tour. How can you compare a book signing to running the country? Celebrity vs Politician hmmm who will be more popular?

Sarah Palin WAS more qualified to be VP than Obama was to be POTUS. Palin took it all on the chin and now has stood up, realizing this was her time to pay the legal debts she had accumulated defending herself, and to give her family some financial security - who wouldn't make the most of that opportunity. In addition she is a real patriot.
Unlike Obama - Palin is a true patriot and would back a cabinet of patriots - we do not have that right now - not at all - all we have today are people interested in a far left radical ideology - and they will hit on every thing American - domestic agenda, foreign policy, economic policy,terrorist policy, - just jam socialism down the throats of "we the people" - you betcha!!

Although I'm sure your opening line was tongue-in-cheek, I think the more the media tries to shill for the Democrats and constantly tell us how smart Obama is, the more we see through this propaganda and realize that he's kind of just a dim-witted celebrity wanabee.
There's really nothing special about him and his intellect seems to be average at best.

Although I'm sure your opening line was tongue-in-cheek, I think the more the media tries to shill for the Democrats and constantly tell us how smart Obama is, the more we see through this propaganda and realize that he's kind of just a dim-witted celebrity wanabee.
There's really nothing special about him and his intellect seems to be average at best.

Although I'm sure your opening line was tongue-in-cheek, I think the more the media tries to shill for the Democrats and constantly tell us how smart Obama is, the more we see through this propaganda and realize that he's kind of just a dim-witted celebrity wanabee.
There's really nothing special about him and his intellect seems to be average at best.

I hope she runs for President, I want to see her depose the little fraud . I wonder why they have put her under pressure during her book signing at Fort Hood , makes me think the Army brass have something to hide.

I'm glad to know you scored high enough on the IQ test to write this article. It's funny that you'd say Obama is "obviously" genius and Palin is "obviously" a dunce. That's only "obvious" to his admiring fans.

For those of us with principles that outlast popular opinion, Obama is not a genius. He's simply a socialist.

Keep underestimating us, liberals. You'll find in time that no matter how many times your liberal media mocks and derides us, you were still wrong.

so the hate America crowd is getting worried about their leader, obama and his liberal agenda not being line with America.

so the hate America crowd sees that America has awakened to the obama damage and is going to make the democrats and obama pay

I think we the Americans have had enough of our Narcissist in Chief's brilliance! All he can do is travel the world over and talk about himself and apologize for the United States. Why does he hate our country so?

I'll take Sara Palin over him any day she shows a heck of a lot more brilliance than he does.

your a joke

Per the article:

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


Clean! Nicely done!

This tongue-in-cheek lead sentence gives an excellent example of the glaring, transparently flawed, pathological perspective/mindset of the "tolerant" liberal.

Well, duh, of course she's more respected than political dunce obama. Palin had some experiance running a state, handling a budget and [drumroll] she made a decision and stuck by it. Just making a decision put her light years ahead of the undocumented worker in the white house. Duh!

Your paper is a joke, 3rd grade trash. never again...

I read this entire article wondering if it was written by either a Lohan-esque celebrity who was just experienced a "political awakening", or a political commentator from the TV Guide channel.

Who is this Andrew Malcolm and why is someone paying him to write?

It seems to me the real dunces are the bloggers who wrote this crappy article.

They called Reagan a dunce also. We need more dunces like Reagan and Palin in office. Go Sarah!

The amazing, incomprehensible thing is that there is a living, breathing soul in America that still has a shred of trust or faith in the current administration. Or Barry.

Troy, the author is being sarcastic. It also makes the point that the Dems are notoriously hostile to women and minorities that stray off the liberal plantation where they belong. Whether it's Michael Steele in whiteface or Palin in any number of mysogynistic/pornographic photoshops, the visceral hatred is something to behold. If she's such a joke, why waste all this time and ink on her?

How dare this woman publish a book and sell it to earn income. And what's with this liking America stuff?

Instead of attempting to debate her policy positions, I instead insist on simply calling her white trash and stupid.

Once Kos and DU give me ammo on the policy front, I will copy and paste it here. I can't be bothered to think through the policy stuff myself. All I know is that I won't be allowed to hang out with the cool folks if I indicate even a smidgeon of support for this woman.

"IF" Obama is successful in implementing his Socialized Health Care Reform -and- his commercially destructive Cap and Tax legislation, the economic recovery WILL BE aborted; and, this Nation WILL EXPERIENCE a double-dip recession; and, IN ALL PROBABILITY, an economic contraction far worse.
Fiscal circumstances which will be exacerbated by the pending expiration of the Bush tax cuts which, as a result of expanded child tax credits and earned income tax credits, reduced the share of individual income taxes paid by the bottom 40% of American taxpayers from 0% to -4%; and, took another ten million low income Americans completely off of the tax roles. The expiration of the Bush tax cuts will lead to a $2.4 trillion tax increase over the next decade.
One would instinctively ask: "Does the man NOT have the minimal economic acumen to realize that our struggling economy DOES NOT HAVE the resiliency to absorb such massive tax increases from these multiple societal adjustments at this precarious moment?".

But, the question necessitates a failure to acknowledge that it's Obama's obvious intention to destroy the free-enterprise structure that has made America the most prosperous Nation in the history of mankind; and, to replace it with the Socialist structure from his native Kenya. Obama is in fact the "Reparator In Chief"; and, will willingly resort to the thuggery techniques that he employed as a "Community Agitator" in Chicago to achieve his objectives.
Take a moment, and reflect on the financial millstone that the Obama agenda is hanging on your children's future potential for achieving prosperity!

Obama's perverted view of American society is unequivocally reflected in his choice of the White House TSARS. Individuals who reflect some of the most radical extremist philosophies on the political scene. While refusing to be beguiled by the nebulous psychosis of "HOPE", each American should accept the obligation to research the background on Obama's TSAR corps. Research which will expose those who ridicule others "who cling to their Bibles", while they admittedly seek their own guidance from Mao's "Little Red Book". Just minimal review verifies that the Obama agenda is anathema to EVERY patriotic America who reveres our Constitution; and, the heritage espoused by our founding fathers. Obama's Marxist psyche simply WILL NOT ACCEPT the concept of American "exceptionalism"; and, compels him to apologize for America's world status at every opportunity. And, belay the "racism" nonsense. As noted in a recent Scottish cartoon: "Barackside WON'T cure your pimples as Obama claims; but, it sure as heck will deplete your wallet." ; and, unfortunately substantially more in the process.
If we are to preserve our cherished heritage, it's essential that we precipitate an electoral Tsunami in 2010. Greg Neubeck

Elitism and socialism are un-American. Try as they may to convince us otherwise, the leftist can't hide the dots, the money and they're hypocrisy. The young idealist were fooled by the "change" campaign. It takes time to figure these things out.
The slick campaign of idealist promises to the naive' will not work again. More importantly the country now understands Chicago politics and corruption, and blacks know Jackson and Sharpton are buffoons. The talent pool of conservative minorities and women no longer need to hide.

"WE THE PEOPLE" have spoken...What happened to that "hope and change"? shoulda been, "hopeless and more chaos!!!!" As for Palin, maybe not president at this point but a strong voice for her and those who believe the same...Freedom of speech is a good thing and she is one to represent...Go Palin and good luck with the future...lots cheering u on and hoping u have more to offer than what we got tricked into....time will tell

btw...enjoyed ur peice...thanks =0)

Obama a genius??!!! You've got to be kidding! He might be a genius at fooling the idiots in this country including the LA Times, but certainly not a genius at running this country. He has no ability to be decisive and make things happen for the better of this country. He's a Chicago thug!


Obama is many things; selfish, self-centered, racist, elitist; but he's done nothing that qualifies as genius,except (perhaps) lying to America to get their vote.

It will be fun watching the MSM try to explain the complete collapse of the democratic party after the 2010 elections. They will call Obama many things then, but not genius.


Have you ever heard of sarcasm?


So, you are a reporter? Even the most sophomoric level of research will reveal that in spite of what you have attempted in the category of smear, Palin has more history and success in executive administration than Obama. Her resume v his resume up to election day, is a no contest comparison.

Your arrogance makes you weak because your disrespect for the intelligence and data gathering abilities of the general population escapes you. Even now you would just dismiss these remarks as coming from some idiot.

Beware the ones you disrespect when that demographic is ultimately getting you paid, dunce.

If anyone watched Sarah on the Hannity program last week should agree that she is more qualified than Obama, even now, or Biden, ever. She has run a city, an energy -blessed state and is a lot more qualified than somebody who has never run anything but some street demonstrations and who cannot deliver a speech without the help of a teleprompter.

That "female Republican dunce" might just eat that "male Democrat genius'" lunch one day. Stranger things have happened. Like, I dunno, some guy with 15 months of US Senate experience and zero government executive or private sector leadership experience becoming the next President of these United States.

Looks like the LA TImes still doesn't get it. Calling someone a dunce is not unbiased, nor is it appropriate. Calling names reveals fear and a lack of intellect. The last laugh is always with the pocket book, and the Times will continue to shrink and layoff more people. Its sort of like being on a sinking ship in the ocean, while assuring all the passengers the captain and crew are the best in the world, really!

Just when we all had such high hopes for Idiot America...

Silently?!? SILENTLY!?! You Libs are positively funny, in a sad sort of way.

Troy... when I read the article, I assumed that the "dunce" and "genius" comments were (both) sarcastic.

Sarah is no more a DUNCE than Barrack is a GENIUS.

The DUNCES are those in the media that portrayed Barrack as a GENIUS.

The DUNCES are those that believe anything the media tells them without even trying or caring to verify.

This miss-information in this article makes me ashamed to still be a L.A. Times subscriber. Contrary to this article, there is not a single poll showing that Palin is close to being as popular as Obama. Not one.

Here are the most recent favorable-unfavorable ratios for Obama and Palin:


CNN 60-39 42-51

ABC News/Wash Post 61-38 43-52

Gallup 56-40 40-50

Fox 54-42 47-42

Instead of using the same polling data, the author compares Obama's approval ratings (his job performance ratings) with Palin's favorability ratings to support his false claim.

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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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