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Shocker polls: That Sarah Palin-Barack Obama gap melts to 1 point [Updated]


Lordy, Lordy, Lordy, look what the pollsters just brought in.

A pair of new surveys revealing that President Obama is still declining and has hit a new low in job approval among Americans just 56 weeks after they elected him with a decided margin.

A Top of the Ticket post Tuesday on the relative popularity of Sarah Palin and Barack Obama erred in stating in the text and the headline that there was a Palin-Obama gap of 1 point. Two separate polls were cited, as the post notes, so the findings are not directly comparable.

And -- wait for it -- Republican Sarah Palin is successfully selling a whole lot more than books out there on the road. Even among those not lining up in 10-degree weather to catch a glimpse of pretty much the only political celebrity the GOP has these days.

First, el jefe. Facing double-digit unemployment, rising spending, deficits and Afghan war casualties plus a keystone but stalled healthcare reform effort that caused a rare Sunday presidential visit to Capitol Hill, Obama recently fell below 50% job approval for the first time.

Then, last week's deft dance of rhetoric over sending reinforcements to Afghanistan but, on the other foot, bringing them home quickly maybe gave him a brief boost. That, however, collapsed with equal rapidity.

Obama's new Gallup Poll job approval number is 47%. Last month it was 53%.

Regular Ticket readers will recall how in this space in late November we pointed out that Obama's closely watched job approval slide was coinciding with Palin's little-noticed rise in favorability. And it appeared they might cross somewhere in the 40s.

Well, ex-Sen. Obama, meet ex-Gov. Palin.

The new CNN/Opinion Research Poll shows Palin now at 46% favorable. [A previous version of this post said that, at 46%, Palin was “just one point below her fellow basketball fan." The CNN/Opinion Research Poll did not ask respondents about Obama.]

(The same poll, btw, has bad news for Dick Cheney-haters; the outspoken former VP has climbed out of the 29% basement, back up to 39% now. How do you suppose he's done that without a new book? But that's another story.)

Not that either Palin or Obama will admit caring about such trivial things as disparate political polls....

...1,071 days before the 2012 election, when Republicans will have the concept of change on their side. Obama's camp is already using the looming Palin pall as a fundraising tool. Never let any potential threat go unmonetized.

The new numbers seem to indicate that despite oft-cited predictions about the dire impact of Palin resigning her Alaska governor's job in July, a lot of people who don't live in Alaska (and, come to think of it, most people don't live in Alaska) don't seem to care. She wasn't their governor then and she still isn't.

Palin's low favorable poll point of 39% came right after the midsummer resignation and she's been slowly climbing since, fueled by media attention, eager reader response over her book contents, her tour and the spontaneous outpouring of support at her carefully-calculated bus stops along the way -- 31 appearances in 25 states, many of them politically crucial.

Imagine what critics would be saying now if Palin was neglecting her elected Juneau job to sell books in the Lower 48 and talk to an elite club of Washington journalists, if there is such a thing.

The view, Palin told the capital's Gridiron Club Saturday night in her self-deprecating and at times pointed remarks (full text right here), is a whole lot better from inside the bus than from under it.

Republican Sarah Palins Going Rogue Book Cover

Palin critics -- and, by golly, there still are some, believe it or not -- say that she's a polarizing political figure.

And they're dead-on correct: 46% like her (including eight of 10 Republicans), 46% don't (including seven of 10 Democrats) and only 8% are undecided (no doubt including many who've been living underground since John McCain unveiled his VP GOP running mate in Dayton, Ohio, some15 months ago).

But here's the fascinating, little-noticed catch:

The very same polarization now holds true for Obama, the fresh fellow from the old Chicago Democratic machine who was supposed to bring hope and change to a nation tired of divisive politics and the harsh partisan tone of Washington.

Fully 83% of Democrats approve of him, but only 14% of Republicans do.

Among independents, who provided the crucial winning boost for the Democratic ticket in November 2008, Obama's support has melted to 42% today, in large part over immense spending and deficit concerns.

And as political veteran Dave Cook points out over on the Vote blog, just since last month, 3% of Obama's own Democrats have abandoned his ship, another 4% of Republicans and fully 7% of independents.

Other recent polls have shown Republicans leading for the first time this year on the generic congressional ballot and self-identified Republicans closing the gap with self-identified Democrats.

Meanwhile, Palin continued her book/celebrity sales tour across the heartland, stopping Sunday in -- oh, look! -- Iowa. "No politician comes to Iowa by accident," Republican strategist Tim Albrecht told AP's Mike Glover.

More significantly, Palin was in western Iowa, which is ruled by the Republican Party, which in the Hawkeye state these days is ruled by conservative evangelicals, who form a large chunk of Palin's evolving base. As another ex-governor, Mitt Romney, learned to his dismay in the 2008 GOP caucuses won by another ex-governor (and Baptist preacher), Mike Huckabee.

Obviously, not every politician visiting Iowa each election cycle ends up running for president. And not every Iowa winner collects the big prize. But no one gets to the White House without going to Iowa. Which Palin has now done on her own. Purportedly selling a book.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Related items:

The secret Sarah Palin speeches we never heard

Sarah Palin's book tour: What to watch for

What's actually in Sarah Palin's book

Sarah Palin breaks with GOP to endorse Conservative

Photo: Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (278)

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Delightful, cynical satire. Yeserree, that out-back dumb klutz is out there hawking a dumb-ass book to yahoos who don't matter...oh, wait, let's see, sadly, these same fly-over country morons know how to pull a voting machine lever, and will do so, I the mega-millions come November 2010 and 2012. You betcha!


At no point did you consider that job approval and personal favorability are two separate numbers?

Look, I like Sarah but the gap in personal favorability is more like 6 points. Even Joe Biden's personal approval is higher, and that man is dumber than a sack of manure.

I had a Palin 2012 sign on my lawn, 11/16/08. She is a force, otherwise the msm and the left would not go so ballistic over anything she does.

This administration and Pelosi and Reid etal may just be the best thing that happened to the republicans in a long time. Lets let them keep talking.

It looks like no one is at the wheel of the Obama campaign bus and it is running over his followers! So funny!

My personal opinion is that Obama's problem is he is basical a senator in the office of the President. It seems he is accustomed to being one vote among many, not the actual decision maker.

This I think is why it seems he announces a decision then often within days is backpedeling on it!

The amazing thing is that Palin has closed the gap sailing into the storm of the most intense campaign of personal vilification since Robert Bork while Obama has cratered despite the lift of the most obsequiously adoring press since - actually it is hard to remember any political figure in the last 50 years who has had a more supportive press. The thing Palin has going for her is authenticity - Obama's nemesis.

Now that I know what a url is, and I have one. Not that anybody but the cat who sleeps nearby hears the show. But then if a tree falls in the forest and no one is listening, is there a noise....

Like calling Snowe and Collins, Senators/Maine, they only hear what they want to hear. Like Grampa Webber who was deaf, he knew when I was in the chicken coop.

No one running for office is going to fit all my societal/cultural/moral needs, but SP comes close.

There is a difference in the Palin - Obama polarization. Palin appeals to middle America, the everyman American, hard working Conservatuves. Obama appeals to the elites, cities, and liberal welfare mothers.

Which results in a better base of support, Palin.

Last summer, Palin was derided for resigning and declared politically suicidal. The "experts" said she has no chance at winning anything, having shown herself to be a "quitter".

The truth is, Sarah is an Alaskan hunter and knows the basic survival skills necessary to stay alive in the wilderness. Her actions in resigning simply demonstrate that timeless technique known to all who hunt:
The hunted becomes the hunter and the hunter becomes the hunted.

The hunted prey turned the tables and began hunting those who were stalking her. The former hunters (Obama and his drones) have suddenly found themselves unable to draw a bead on her and now sense the eerie feeling that....someone is watching them. If they look close enough, they will find the little red laser dot dancing in a very small circle on the forehead (politically speaking, of course)

I think she has more power to influence politics from outside the political sphere than she does from within. And I hope she maintains her humility. That is her greatest strength.

I would vote for Palin in any office

This will make liberal neo-comms even more afraid of Palin, and even more hateful of her.

Soon they'll be re-thinking their pathetic attempts at revers psychology when they say, "I hope Palin runs in 2012". Face it, things are likely to get worse in this country, and more and more people will wake up to two facts. First, Obama can no longer blame the previous administration. And second, the unemployment rate was doing just fine (4.5%) when Republicans controlled Congress and the Whitehouse, but the unemployment started skyrocketing once Democrats took control of Congress in 2007 and began authoring the legislation.

Face it, a majority of people will simply be voting "Anyone but Obama" in the next election.

What I love about Sarah is you mention her name to a liberal, then sit back and enjoy the conniption fit.

Now this is real "hope" and "change." Let's "hope" that a real person with common sense can reverse the "change" of "audacity."

Go Sarah, energize the HOPE for CHANGE: back to the values of American tradition!

Could it be that, unlike Obama, she's an American citizen, and has proven eligibility for the presidency?

Could it be because she's never gone around the world "dissin' and pissin'" on the United States?

Could it be because she'd never bowed to foreign leaders of any kind, despots and dictators included?

Could it be because she has executive experience and the current pretender to the presidency has none?

Could it be because she reduces taxpayer's burden instead of increasing it?

Could it be because she doesn't claim that the U.S. "is a Muslim nation?"

Could it be because she supports our military and has a son in it, instead of taking 100 like a deer in the headlight to come up with a plan for failure for our troops?

Naw. It's probably because she's better looking and The Great Unwashed are stupid.

Could it be because she has never associated with nor hired known felons, Marxists, domestic terrorists, and disreputable people to work for her?

"(The same poll, btw, has bad news for Dick Cheney-haters; the outspoken former VP has climbed out of the 29% basement back up to 39% now. How do you suppose he's done that without a new book? But that's another story.)"

Easy to understand how Cheney has accomplished this...he demonstrated he has a pair of testículos by firing back at the blame "Bush/Cheney" administration. I'm guessing a substantial number of 'former GOP' members did as I did...every time I received a piece of mail with a reminder/request for contributions/donations/dues I wrote a personal note on the form, placed it in the postal paid return envelope and dropped it in the mailbox. My notes, by the way, always say the same thing: "When the GOP grows a pair, and demonstrates they have a backbone, I'll 'consider' contributing again...until then I will look for representation that more closely reflects the views of an aging, somewhat financially comfortable baby-boomer."

The only thing that will motivate political parties is the fear of losing the almighty coin. Mr. Cheney, in my opinion, has always had a pair, and he suppressed his anger at the idiotic left because of protocol and what was proper (doing what is proper will be lost on many younger people reading this because most young people today, unfortunately, are not raised in homes and by families who understand what 'proper' is and therefore can not teach it to the children). The last thing the left should do is make Mr. Cheney angry...he is both intelligent AND articulate and will embarrass those on the left who try to belittle or demean him.

Sarah Palin, by coincidence, is not easily intimidated and if the liberal left is not careful they'll help, though unwittingly, her rise to political prominence.

I love it. After more than a solid year of negative press, Sarah Palin's star continues to rise. Now, THAT is "hope" and "change" I can believe in.

How is this surprising? Only someone stuck in an ivory tower that doesn't talk to real Americans would find this shocking.

President Barack Obama is “angry” about the infiltration of a State Dinner for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by two intruders, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday.

Yet little over a year ago in September 2008, candidate Obama placed his seal of approval on the actions of one of his top funders, Code Pink co-founder and terrorist supporter Jodie Evans, by meeting with her at a high profile Hollywood fundraiser just days after Jodie Evans attempted to storm the stage during Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech.

Jodie Evans had committed identity theft that enabled her to sneak past security at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.

After the incident, the mainstream media refused to report on the ties between Obama and Jodie Evans.

Bbbbbbbbut a year ago everyone in the MSM (LA Times included) said the GOP was dead and Barry would make Lincoln and Washington look average due to his brilliance.

What happened?

And you know if the LA Times is saying things are bad for Obama, they must be REALLY BAD. Welcome to reality Obamabots, get ready for 3 more years of pain.

This is what I know, if this administration continues this arrogant way of governing and turning our Great country into a socialist-lite country; people might not like Sarah Palin now but wait when the actual policies start to take hold, I daresay even Gary Coleman will beat Obama in 2012. I think deep down progressives know this; you see my friends everybody would want to live in a kumbaya world, where everybody has a job and universal healthcare and no "bad" people. When you try to enact policies to achieve this dream utopia, it meets reality and one by one those progressive "principles" fall down like a pack of card; just ask Cindy Sheehan and code pink how they feel now about Afghanistan; I thought the lefty President was supposed to come in and end the unjust “Bush war”. I guess he's seeing the same reports the “evil Bush” was using to make his decisions and now guess what the “good and eloquent” Obama is reaching the same conclusion. It’s a blessing that John McCain did not win the election, what better way to teach the young idealist ones than using the US as a lab rat for their Che ideas; I just hope we all survive this experiment with our way of life, I pray we survive the coming nightmare being thrust upon us by the democrat party whose members all seem to be in stupor and unexplainable awe of Obama and seem hell bent to be led off the plank by a small vocal group of far left crazies. In the end I hope they fall off that cliff and not the beacon of hope for freedom lovers all round the world like this immigrant from Africa.

Yeah. Right.

Please Sarah, run for President so you can be humiliated

Sarah, keep up the good work, and fight the good fight.

This is a misleading post. Job approval and favorability numbers are not the same. Most polls for the duration of his presidency, have shown President Obama's favorability to be higher than his job approval. Favorability is more of a likeability assessment than job approval - i.e., there is a not insignificant number of people who personally like Obama even if they do not approve of the job he is doing.

Hahaha, the Messiah is dropping like a rock. Seems Team Bama can't keep up with all the Lies they are telling.

Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is Sarah Palin's book!

Palin 2012!

Obama and the media cannot destroy her

For a more fair comparison, how about providing the Quitter's job approval ratings?

The media is lying flat out when they talk of being shocked by Palin’s rise in the polls. If they weren’t lying and truly believed that Palin was a light weight, you wouldn’t sense the hostility and utter disdain for a devoted Christian woman with a Conservative World view and proven leadership skills. They’re scared to death of her because they think she can win. You don’t hear this kind of hostility being aimed at Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, or Newt Gingrich because they don’t think they can win an election of any national significance. In other words, if you want to know who has a chance to win big elections , just pay attention to liberals because they will tell you by the way they begin to foam at the mouth and expound on the reasons a particular Republican or Conservative pol like Palin can’t be successful. When they do that like this writer did, they’re lying and shifting into defcon 1

Sarah Palin/Brittney Spears in 2012. For America and our children.

Palin is refreshingly honest, intelligent with common sense, and fiscally conservative! I find nothing more promising in the recovery of America than an individual who believes in the constitution and isn't throwing America under the Marxist bus.
Wake up America! Read her book!

Liberals hate her because she is good and stands for truth, economic reality, and intelligent, sane common sense.

Did anyone really believe spending taxpayer money would stimulate jobs and the economy. If you did you flunked economics 101!

You can't spend your way out of a recession or borrow your way out of debt.

Any improvements are because the free-market is hard to beat down, even though the liberals are intent on doing just that.

The American people are waking up in spite elitist snobs like you. Sarah Palin's common sense must really threaten your world. Gird up your Loins, Andy.

Let's face it -- the Democrats are going to hate any and every Republican (or conservative) candidate and love their candidate (no matter how much worse things get).

Our country is really polarized. Christians and conservatives are being persecuted for their beliefs. They're actually being demonized or catagorized as "snake-handling, Bible thumpers".

The Silent Majority is tired of the leftist media manipulating the less educated, poor Democrats (not all Dems are poor and undereducated -- there are a few educated ones) with their yellow journalism. It's actually having a reverse effect. I'd like to call it, "The Couric Effect" after former NBC Today Show cream fluff announcer, Katie Couric, was tabbed to deliver her liberal agenda on the nightly network news. Her agenda and her ratings didn't fare well at all.

Neither is CNN nor any of the other liberal media outlets. Al Franken's failed leftist radio talk show was so NOT successful, Franken had to look for a more stable job with benefits (aka The Senate) and health coverage that is so much better than what he wants for his constituents and most Americans.

Sarah Palin was muzzled by the McCain campaign. Sure she was politically green on the national politics scene, but so was "The Annointed One" Obama.

At least Sarah ran Alaska with a toughness that most Alaskans loved. So will most Americans.
Except the polarized Democrats.

Wow, and we have this: After the media had made it their business to trash Sarah Palin, and also made it their business to prop up Obama.

Just goes to show, the truth will prevail in the end.

Go Sarah! The only person with common sense and a backbone. Sarah is our ticket out of a corrupt government.

Could Palin beat Obama "You Betcha!!"

And Obama wants to trot off to Copenhagen and sell out our economy and our quality of life to the social-justice crowd for reasons that look a little worse every day...

LA Times. I thought you guys didn't exist anymore.

Sarah Palin speaks TO the people. She is one of us. Obama speaks AT the people.
We became (and still are) sick of Al Gore lecturing us like we are a bunch of brain dead idiots. Obama does the same thing and what he is telling us is a flat out lie (Global Warming / Climate Change or what ever it is called this week) or pure Socialist propaganda that has failed world wide (Health Care, Stimulus etc.) The new Socialist Democrats may pass some of this crap, but they will be rejected wholesale in 2010. Americans are a compassionate people and will always help those in need but government controlled health care is not the answer and neither is telling people who remember their 6th Grade science class that exhaling is a criminal act. Run Sarah, Run!

Why is Huckabee still around? He does not speak for a large number of conservatives and he is too soft on crime. No Huckabee in 2012! Palin all the way!

PALIN 2012

I am not surprised that Sarah Palin is closing in on Obama in the polls. If you have not seen videos of her book signing tour you would be amazed. She is getting huge turnouts of people waiting hours to see her.

As bad as things are right now with jobs, economy, deficits, wars, I think a lot of people look to Sarah because she is a fighter and a ray of hope in this mess. Her opponents have thrown everything at her and nothing sticks. You want to talk about being vetted, there is no one who has been more scrutinized and is still holding firm and confident as she is. This is exactly the type of leader I want in 2012. If Sarah runs she is getting my vote.

Within a point of what? None of this means anything , just like a popularity contest. If she wasn't what most consider to be attractive, she would be off of any radar. There is really nothing going on in that head of hers.
Difficult things to do are never popular.

nice pic of sarah's 'O' face, hahaha, O...O...O..

What a woman! Sarah from Alaska. I bought her book the day it came out and devoured it quickly. She is everything good that America was before obambi. Drill, Baby, Drill!!!!

Looks like it may be time for the main stream news media to revive the Palin full court press smear campaign that they used last year.

I'd vote for her over Obama.

Obama got 54% of the popular vote and won 29 states. Hardly a decisive victory over a 73 year old Republican in name only. Palin couldn't have carried McCain to victory. His negatives weighed too much. Palin is no star but Obama can't out poll her because the public has discovered he is just another in a long line of big government, tax and spend, Democrats. Maybe Obama needs to try some of that transparency he always likes to talk about. For my part, I am hoping for change.

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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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