Just Because Sarah Palin Can't Win Doesn't Mean She Won't Run
New polls show her popularity is slipping, but does it matter?
Over the past couple of days, the political blogosphere has been acackle over the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll on Sarah Palin's popularity: 58 percent of Republican-leaning voters still view her favorably (down from an all-time high of 88 percent in 2008), but a rather significant bloc, 37 percent, view her unfavorably. Two-thirds of those who like her are affiliated with the Tea Party. (Another, rather gimmicky poll found that Palin trails Charlie Sheen among independents.) Not promising, but it doesn't put her out of the running entirely: Huckabee and Romney are just three and two percentage points ahead of Palin in the likely-GOP voter popularity contest.
Besides, the raison d'etre of the Palin Meter isn't to say whether Palin can win the nomination (much less the White House), but whether she'll run. In the latest indication that she is toying with the idea, Palin just announced that she'll stop in Israel after her upcoming trip to India, a move surely meant to further shore up her foreign policy credibility and also to appeal to the pro-Israel portion of her base.
The other big news in Palin-world is an L.A. Times profile of her famously reclusive speechwriter and very close adviser, Rebecca Mansour. ABC News' Michael Falcone writes that the article "underscores just how closed-off and secretive Palin's inner-circle is" and declares this "one of the reasons why many political observers are growing more skeptical about the likelihood that Palin will jump into the presidential contest." But in fact, this is precisely the sort of situation that breeds delusions of grandeur: Mansour, who clearly has Palin's ear, comes across as whip-smart but also as too much of a fangirl to do anything but tell her boss that she can win whatever she wants, whether the presidency or the moon and the stars. So, polls and poll-watchers be damned, the Palin meter holds steady at 55 percent.
Previous Palin Meter Readings:
Tuesday, March 8, 2011: 35 percent
Monday, March 7, 2011: 40 percent
Friday, March 3, 2011: 45 percent
Tuesday, March 1, 2011: 51 percent
Noreen Malone is a staff writer for the New Republic.