Palin’s Prospects

Brendan Nyhan writes:

It’s amusing to me that people think Sarah Palin is going to run for president in 2012 if McCain loses. Her favorable/unfavorable numbers in the new CBS/NYT poll are 32 percent favorable/41 percent unfavorable. That’s where Hillary Clinton and Al Gore were in early 2007 after 15+ years of negative press. By contrast, Palin has been in the public eye for less than two months. I find it hard to believe that GOP primary voters would see her as the person they think can defeat Barack Obama.


Maybe so. It’s striking to me, though, that explicit “electability” arguments don’t seem to feature heavily in GOP presidential primaries. This is a huge contrast from the Democratic side, where both the 2004 and 2008 primaries ended up showing a heavy focus on those questions. All signs are that a lot of conservatives like Palin just fine. If she can connect with a donor base, it seems to me that she’d be a reasonably strong primary contender. She’d have the leg up, meanwhile, of being better-known nationwide at this point than just about any other eligible Republican.