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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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Wow. Nice way to stay unbiased there with your opening sentence calling Palin a retard and Obama the second coming of Jesus.

Great article, except for the part that calls Palin a dunce. A dunce would run circles around that dolt Palin. Please done insult dunces.

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

At least there's no pretending to be neutral here on the LA Times part.

Obama is a genius? Really! Sure can't tell by his actions so far. "Community Organizers" must spend all their time doing Soduko and Yahtzee. I'd bet on Palin when it comes to critical thinking and actually being able to solve problems. At least she has experience doing so.

Dunce?? What a ridiculous comment. As far as President Obama being a genius thats a real stretch. He is a wonderful communicator as is Gov. Palin. His genius, however, goes only so far as his script and/or telepromptor allow.

Obama genius??? Bbbllllllaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhaaaaaa only in the land of fruits and nuts is the Moron of the United States thought of as a genius. What a riot! AAAhhhhahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!
How's that change working for you now!

A "female Republican dunce"? Seriously? How does somebody work their way through college, earn a degree, get elected to city council, mayor, and governor and still be a dunce? You lefties need to get over yourselves! I am an educated woman and guess what? I am Libertarian. I don't fit your mold and neither does Sarah. Reasonable people have different points of view, and that should be respected, not insulted.
I guess it is true that a liberal will tolerate anything as long as they are agreed with.

Sarah had no experience at anything. Obama had lot's but no one could quite put a finger on exactly what that experience was. For all that's been accomplished, having no experience could have done at least as good. Fact of the matter is and was, she had more experience than he but the left just could not admit it. What a shame.

LAT writer still misses it. Palin doesn't have to run in 2012. There's no threat to Huckabee or other good candidates. Excitement is stirring, but it is not excitement for Obam-ites. Obama didn't get this much excitement until a few months before 11/08. It's too bad that the DNC rigged the GOP's debate last year and got a loser McCain to run against Obama. Quite a few things to fix. Now we just have to kill off the DNC's money laundering schemes. There was ACORN. Now, Goliath is the so-called healthcare reform at the footsteps. Other money laundering has to end: the rigging of public education funds, National Public Radio funds, etc.

BHO = President Jimmy Nixon. Inept and corrupt. His polls will drop until scandal hits the fan.

Decent article but who's the dunce? Obama, the Democratic genious maybe? Let's look at his policies and see how similar they are to all of the failed democratic California policies. Then compare them to those of Palin's Alaskan policies and which state comes out on top? I think you the writer are the dunce heh?

Call her any name you want. She has got "it" and that is what you liberals hate! I love her because she is everything that our politicians are not, and that includes all the republicans!! GO SARAH!!!

I guess this article highlights the fact that a "a female Republican dunce" is at least more appealing to the country than "a male Democrat genius." Maybe I'm wrong, but I'd rather have someone running the office of the President that actually has a basic understanding of the real world- something Mr. Obama certainly is lacking.

All I'm hearing from the left is the same exact things I
used to hear about a dunce named Ronald Reagan...

And you see how well that worked out for them...

This presidency is effectively over. Period...

"she's a female Republican dunce and he's a male Democrat genius". Fascinating. Is name calling all you liberals can do? Let's compare some facts, she has managed a business and your genius has not, she has experience managing the enterprise of government and your genius is just getting his feet wet (poorly), she has a history of taking on the establishment machine and your genius is part of the machine, neither had foreign policy experience when they first ran and neither can now claim that foreign policy is their strong suit (see Obama's performance to date), she speaks to the values of the majority of Americans your genius does not, etc. She speaks with candor and your genious obfuscates and dodges. Genius, ehhh? My how valueless the left is when they consider near daily lying to the American people as "Genius".

I am highly offended by the first sentence in this article. What an absolute sexist statement. Did the author ever stop to think that maybe people like Sarah Palin's positions on the issues, and are fed up with the president pulling the country down further every day? No wonder the newspapers are losing readers.

I believe you owe Sarah Palin an apology, as well as all Republican women across the country--there are far more of us than you think.

I firmly and confidently believe that if the ignorant masses that make up the figure of 60% who believe Palin is not qualified to be President were asked the poll question differently, they would respond differently. For example, try posing the question as, "Governors are the chief executives of their respective states, while U.S. Senators serve in the legislative branch of the federal government. Sarah Palin was the governor of Alaska from 2006-2009. Is Palin qualified to be the President of the United States?" Juxtapose that question with, "Barack Hussein Obama was a community organizer, state legislator, and U.S. Senator from Illinois, with strong ties to the Chicago political establishment, is Obama qualified to be the President of the United States?" I'm sure would logically believe Palin to be qualified, while slightly fewer may have seen Obama as less qualified.

Sarah has the approval not only of white Evangelicals, but some of us white pro-life Catholics also, including I a seriously WIA Viet-Nam veteran.

I've grown tired of our president who's culturally an Indonesian Muslim rather than a patriotic American.

According to his autobiography in his formative years he studied Islam & the Koran in an Indonesian Madrass. It's beside the point if he was or wasn't born in the USA, quite simply he does not identify with us; he's just not an American patriot.

I don't know if he's a true Manchurian Candiate or not; a Muslim sleeper agent whose ambition is to inflect as much harm as he possibly may upon the USA. In any case, I hope no conservative attempts to harm him, because I don't want the rotten SOB to become a marttyr for the goofy Left.

Seems likely the bloggers are the true "dunces". And of course Zero too! Petty idiots like you are a blessing for Sarah Palin, and only demonstrate how void of common sense and tact the far-left is. People see children like you spewing your childish barbs, and see how pathetic the left really is. It only makes Sarah look better to normal people. Your "Democrat genius" is an immature flyweight out of his league, and as usual, it will take a grown-up (next President) to try and clean up the terrible mess he has made when he is gone in 2013. I did not think it possible for anyone to do, but Obama is starting to even make Dubya look like a genius!

Would LA and San Francisco please hurry up and fall into the ocean, or just secede from the US, so the country can get back to normal? Please? And be sure to do it while Speaker Pelosi is home for a visit.

I don't know what I like more :

the ridiculously long permalink for this article, or the based in facts facts. pleasant surprise.

BHO a genius and Sarah a dunce? Neither is true. BHO can look more clever than he is when he has a teleprompter (just look at him without it). Palin's problem is that she looks less clever than she is, and a superficial media culture jumped on that.

You'd be surprised at how people are completely turned off by Obama. Constantly on TV and saying what a great job he's doing . His poll numbers are going South. He refuses to make a decision about troop buildup while our soldiers are dying, Unemployment, Raising taxes, Large deficits. This guy is a pretender and he sucks at playing baskerball.



Palin has a better grasp of foreign & domestic policy in her little finger than BHO has in his entire body. That includes his allegedly superior intellect.

Further, she has a more cogent opinion of national defense, how to handle the national debt, the national health care travesty, and United States of America's position is on the world stage (that is, get us out of the UN; kick the UN off US soil; forego America's membership in NATO, UNICEF, and any other entity affiliated with those organizations.)

She knows, too, that the US has no business so much as flirting with the Kyoto treaty, climate change (ala AlGore, Michael Moore, Keith Olbermann, e.g.) or any derivative thereof.

In short, Sarah Palin's experience has served her well. Her gubernatorial stint shows that she has what it takes when it comes to management and governmental experience. The real tragedy is that many folk voted for BHO based upon, (1) the way the fawning media portrayed him, i.e., a savior, when, in fact, he is a seditionist; and (2) by race. What's particularly sad about the latter is that that is not a valid reason to vote for anyone, be they white, Hispanic, Latino, Oriental, or any other nationality.
Shame, shame, shame on those who voted for BHO on # 2's grounds because it would put a person of color in the White House. There are far more worthy people on the political landscape: JC Watts, Bobby Jindal, for example.

Sarah Palin is the most viable candidate in 2012's Presidential contest. To think otherwise is to strap a blindfold on and refuse to take it off. I think she and either JC Watts or Bobby Jindal would make a formidable ticket. Democraps are sitting smug and actually believe themselves and their party incapable of being defeated. That is as serious a mistake as they've ever made.

National Health Care is a bad idea. It amounts to ransoming our children's and grandchildren's and great-grandchildren's future on the altars of stupidity and massive fiscal irresponsibility.

Even if Ms. Palin chooses not to run...I'll write her name in. The day this poster votes for anything liberal or democrat party-ish is the day my brain totally ceases functioning.

If the trend continues from within the indepedents, then Sarah Palin could be the first female POTUS. Howeverm, is Hillary decides to challenge BHO on 2012 DNC primaries, then, it will a battle between two strong women and it will be a tight race. I am predicting betrayals within the DNC camp since Obama's leadership is slowly failing and in order for DNC to maintain their holds at the white house, some of their strategists will push Hillary to challenge Obama. Well, politics are full of hypocracies and betrayals. Your friends today can be your enemies tomorrow and that is why it is really very hard to store your glory and pride on your head. Julius Caesar was the first to experience betrayals from his own camp.

I dont know why people are talking about this lady like she is the second coming. Is the reason she resigned from elected office so that she could match her book title? I have been a republican for many years now and if there is only one thing I know for sure is that; its usually the good ones that slide by unnoticed. This is the reason I truely believe in Rep. Ron Paul. He has ran for president twice and givin very limited coverage, because he was the only republican who didnt believe in the "Let's go hunt us some terrorist's" speal and is still a practicing doctor who knows the harm this health care bill can do. I wont go into much more detail, but the only way I found out anything about Ron Paul was from personal research and youtube, because the media is afraid of him.

Calling a potential presidential candidate a "female Republican dunce" in the opening line of this article says all you need to know about the L.A. Times: why their overt left wing bias has driven away their moderate readership, why they continue to head toward bankruptcy, and why their blind support for the far left has helped to destroy the quality of life in L.A., not to mention get an inept communist elected to the White House. Yes, folks, as the political pendulum swings back to the right, the L.A. Times again misses the boat on the obvious sign of the times: Palin shares the values of 100's of millions of disgruntled voters, while Obama has set out to destroy this country with policies that are anti-business, anti-free market, and pro-terrorist extremism. While the L.A. Times cries over spilt Obama milk, the rest of us anticipate 2010 and 2012.

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?

Posted by: PeaceFrog | November 23, 2009 at 11:06 AM

LOL! She was the most popular governor in the country at 83% approval ratings when she was nominated VP. She was already a star among governors, and if she hadn't been slaughtered by the media and Obama's goons, her approval rating would still be much higher than Obama's.

Dripping with Liberal envy...

May I correct the mistake, our first 50% black President. I will be impressed when the first 100% black is elected that was born in the USA. Then, I will applaud. I wonder why Obama thinks he’s black, when he’s half white. Is he racists?

I am guessing the dunce/genius lead was an attempt at inflammatory irony, LOL.

Obama . . . "male Democrat genius?!" Let's see, we have the highest unemployment in 30 years; the dollar, just possibly, will never recover; he wants legislation to tax our use of fossil fuels - further driving down our weak economy into the ground and increasing unemployment; he is pushing for legislation to take health care out of our control; he apologizes around the world our awful transgressions (I still can't figure out what we have done that is so wrong); and he hates capitalism; and he has surrounded himself with avowed socialist and communist. Is that your idea of a genius?

It is interesting to me, that Palin scares progressives to death. And their only means to marginalize her is by calling names. This article, again, shows the bias of the press. They have lost all objectivity.

Isn't it funny...what a book tour can do to ratings? And isn't it funny, what indecision, and a propensity to socialism can do to ratings?

Obama's numbers are going down, faster than a prostitute at a bachelor party.

It's about time us dunces got a shot at running the country. Obviously the intelligentia can't do it.

your the dunce!!

Who qualifies the writer to call Palin a "dunce." It that fair journalism? NOPE!!

Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Palin - what do they have in common? All dumb Republicans?

No, but they were all accused of being dumb....of course by liberals who have zero depth of policy or character. Meanwhile they feast on their ability to dumb-down the electorate and devise special interests ("victims") who lack the ability or will to keep America the shining example of democracy, freedom and capitalism.

Interesting juxtaposition - accuse the enemy of being dumb, but as an age-old-practice dumb down your constiuency.

Be Brave Sarah - you will need it to fight the propoganda....the press is as nice to you as they will ever be because you stand for things they can not even understand.

Stand Strong.

WOW - the l.a.Slimes admits approval gap shrinks - - Sarah must be actually leading in the polls over the sonofabitchfromkenya - Conservatives must get out and VOTE-get the lying thugs out of congress & the W.H. but remember acorn & obama's thugs will be stuffing the ballot boxes with fraudulant votes so we must overwhelm them in order to take back our country - otherwise we will end up like most of the world, ruled by the "elite" and pissed on as peasants and serfs - - the way it was until the American Revolution of 1776 and the beginning of our Constitutional Republic - most of the world today is ruled by tyrants - USA must continue to be that "city on a hill" giving hope to the poor and the mass of humanity that has no representation.

Boy, count the rightwing idiots in this comment section.

I've run out of fingers and toes! And had to borrow my families' fingers and toes and I've run out of them too!

Hey, cretins, Andrew Malcolm, author of this article, is a former Bush Administration hack. If you all had the reading comprehension of squirrels, you'd see he was setting up a pro-Palin article with that opening.

And, as several commenters have pointed out, and anyone who visits mediamatters can read, Malcolm used apples and oranges to falsely compare entirely different poll categories in order to falsely pump up Palin vs. Obama.

Malcolm should be fired for lying crap like this, but he won't be. While you retarded rightwingers froth at the mouth about the liberal media, the Washington Post continues to let George Will lie about climate change, the NYTimes constantly let Safire print lies during Monicagate, and William Kristol and Max Boot and Jonah Goldberg and literally dozens of other rightwing liars and shills grace the pages of those papers and the LATimes on a weekly basis.

Palin will trounce this dunce Obama.

Republican Dunce...who's the dunce...the big earred mongrel from Nigeria...duh....can't make a decision on funding the troops...duh... can't make a correct choice on repair the economy...duh...don't no "nuttin" - I was only a senator for 90 days.....
I don't see no democrat genius....I see a puppet...and a very stupid one at that

Um... I think ( to this author's credit ) he is being sarcastic in his opening sentence.

At any rate, it is so wonderful to hear this news, that Sarah's numbers are rising while "The Messiah"'s numbers keep dropping.

Palin would have been a much better pres than obama. that's why the dems hate her.

Palin has real leadership and management experience - and needs more experience to be in politics. Sadly, BO wasn't held to the same standard. As a result we have elected the most powerful leader in the world who is . . . Shallow, Naive, Inexperienced, Immature, clueless, and very, very dangerous. This is an indicatioin of the intelligence quotient of the average American voter. . . . Shallow, Naive, and clueless. Suckers for a the advertising industry.

"Not that it matters politically because obviously Johanna Neuman is a female liberal liar and Andrew Malcolm's obviously a male useful idiot for communists and jihadists."

There I fixed it for the LAT ever declining readerership.

I'm struck by the many that don't get the sarcasm from the author.

The "dunce" and "genius" is how the corrupt media portray the two.

The point is, while this supposedly brilliant guy is failing at everything he tries, (because he has zero experience) the "hillbilly" from Wasilla is just hitting her stride.

For those that have followed Sarah Palin for years, this is no surprise, it is she who is the brilliant strategist, not Obama. It is she who is the successful leader, not Obama.

One thing the author missed, Rasmussen, which tends to be the most accurate pollster, has Sarah's favorables at 51 percent Obama's are 46 percent.

Among Republicans, she's off the charts.
Among the independents, she's "merely" a star.
Even democrats, the non-insane ones, like her.

The "Reagan democrats" have a new home.

As more people read Sarah's new book, things will only look better for her. This is a true leader with real ideas, who has actually accomplished big things.

Can't wait for 2013 to get to see her sworn in as President.

Great article. I'm going to give the author the benefit of the doubt on the 'Democratic Genius / Republican Dunce' intro, as being merely a tongue-in-cheek line and a funny one at that. I don't think the rest of the article supports the writer as being an ideologue of the left. Facts are facts and Sarah Palin is reminding a large segment of the nation that out of control and out of balance Government and Politicians are threatening our economic future and constitutional principals. There is a lot of buyer's remorse among the electorate when it comes to Obama and the Dems and look for even more of the same. I'd like to ask you guilt ridden Democrat / Liberal voters out there who think that higher taxes are a beautiful thing - where is this voracious, authoritarian, fascist - leaning government you elected going to find money for all the crony special interests of your party when the 'rich' and upwardly mobile have nothing more to give?

Obama has never released his college transcripts, even though every other president has. I have good information that the reason he has not, is because when he applied for placement admission and student aid, he listed himself as a citizen of Indonisia to get preferential treatment. Why wont he show any school records, not even gradeschool?

The Democrats are going to get slaughtered in the midterms next year. Mark it down...they'll lose at least 40 seats in the House....maybe 50. They'll also lose at least 4-5 Senate seats, beginning with Harry Reid and Chris Dodd. Say goodbye to Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson as well.

Obama and his liberal lackeys are very much aware of the upcoming blood bath and that is why they are hellbent on ramming through as much of his anti-American Marxist agenda as soon as possible. They know they'll never have another opportunity like this again. You see...America has caught on to Obama. He's the manifestation of 25 years of liberal political correctness in this country. The guy is an empty suit ass clown with no experience running anything other than his mouth. He's a full blown Marxist (if not communist) who obviously hates America and is funded by a coalition of America haters.(George Soros,, Code Pink, SEIU, ACORN, ATLU, ACLU, etc...)

The GOP appeared dead in the water a year ago.
Fast forward a year from now and the GOP will look a lot different.

You can thank Obama for that. His Marxist over-reach will destroy the Democrats for 20 years. See the Jimmy Carter reign for historical reference.

ABO 2012 !!

ABO == Anyone But Obama

I think you guys are missing the point of the opening lines... I believe I'm actually detecting sarcasm there.

This article seems steeped in sarcasm about BHO. Read it again... you'll see it.

The country needs to be ran like a small business and not a corporation. Like most corporations that fail they do so because they become top heavy with middle management or too many chiefs and not enough Indians. Right now we are witnessing the growth of government at such a record pace the corporation is eventually going to fail. If you see a piece of paper pick it up, don't wait for the janitor to do it or to bring up the piece of paper you witnessed in the hallway earlier in a company meeting, just pick up the piece of paper and throw it away! To much red tape and focus groups are choking the last breath out of this country. Maybe if we all used some common sense and respected one another things would be a lot better...

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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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