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Sarah Palin takes center stage again today

April 9, 2010 |  3:32 am

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As Republican superstar Sarah Palin puts the finishing touches on her state of the common-sense drive speech for this afternoon's Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, a new poll emerged showing some improvement in her unfavorable image in the minds of many Americans.

As The Ticket reported here Thursday night, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and vice presidential daughter Liz Cheney got the GOP good times roiling last night with harsh criticism of what's-his-name in the White House.

The Obama healthcare bill is “one of the most arrogant power plays in American history,” Cheney said. Gingrich suggested the unfolding November midterm election campaign is “not Obama vs. anti-Obama but America vs. a secular socialist machine.”

Palin has been drawing loud, long cheers in recent speeches with her own attacks on....

... the Democratic Obama-Pelosi-Reid cabal that is currently controlling the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives in Washington.

Freed from the concerns of an elected office and any family finance worries thanks to her book and TV contracts, Palin is skipping around the country speaking where she chooses, saying what she pleases and puzzling professional prognosticators with her unorthodox campaign for 2012, if that's what it turns out to be.

As a de facto spokeswoman for the Tea Party sector, which recent polls show here attracting a wider array of members than previously thought, Palin can create a crowd and media attention virtually anywhere. (See photo of the early-bird throng for her Wednesday Minneapolis speech.)

Even to the dusty dump of Searchlight, Nevada, happy Harry Reid's hometown, she drew upwards of 10,000 fans and told them, "It's not a time to retreat. It's a time to reload!" (Video of that speech right here.)Fans of Republican Sarah Palin line up 
early for a Minneapolis speech 4-7-10ap

The Alaskan's ubiquitous detractors don't care about Palin so much they feel compelled to denounce her loudly and repeatedly, even though as a conservative loose cannon who doesn't even hold a political office anymore, she should be worthy of mere disinterest.

Here's how disinterested Republican heavyweights are.

With her presence sure to suck up the crowd/media attention in the Big Easy this week, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former governors Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee all found compelling reasons to be somewhere else for the southern GOP political showcase, rather than endure inevitable comparisons.

Here's what Palin's likely to repeat today in a speech to be broadcast on C-SPAN around noon:

We're sending a message to Washington. It's loud and it's clear, and in these upcoming elections we're saying that the big-government, big-debt, Obama-Pelosi-Reid spending spree is over. You're fired!

Now, about those Palin poll numbers, usually characterized as abysmal. A new CBS News poll finds that after all the negative press, an impressive 24% (think that'll get Palin-haters going?) of its sample views her favorably.

CBS found that a mere 38% view Palin unfavorably, a whopping three-point improvement from her 41% unfavorable rating in January. By comparison, Gallup recently found Reid's unfavorable rating to be 45% and Nancy Pelosi's unfavorable rating to be 54%. So how's that healthcare change working for ya?

Palin is self-employed so doesn't have a job approval rating. But the RealClearPolitics average shows the Democrat in the White House has a 46.4 job disapproval rating and an approval average of 47.2. The same average gives Congress a job disapproval rating of 75.5, or about twice as bad as Palin's unfavorables. (Can you hear the screaming yet?)

Unlike Congress, however, Palin isn't facing any voters come Nov. 2.

Not surprisingly, Palin is viewed least favorably by liberal Democrat women in the Northeast. She's viewed most favorably by conservative Republican men in the Midwest.

One other intriguing and counter-intuitive aspect to the CBS poll:

Despite her prominence in politics and the media in recent months with her national best-selling book tour, speeches and frequent Fox News appearances, those who claimed to be undecided or not to have heard enough to have an opinion about Sarah Palin increased from 32% to 37%.

And if you believe their answers, we've got a non-existent bridge to nowhere for sale.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Associated Press

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