A new Time poll released today found that while voters are skeptical about President Barack Obama’s policies, his personal popularity remains solidly high. When matched up with the most visible and vocal of his GOP critics, Sarah Palin, Obama routs the former half term governor, 55%-34%.
Although voters are not happy with Obama’s handling of the oil spill (54% disapprove), and immigration (53% disapprove), the Time poll had lots of good news for the President. Sixty one percent of those surveyed still blame George W. Bush, not Obama for the economy. More Americans think his policies have helped the economy (31%) than believe that they have hurt (26%), and most importantly 80% of those surveyed believe that the economy is now stable or heading in the right direction.
The Republicans who are trying to revise the history of the George W. Bush presidency in order to claim that America was in better shape under Bush than Obama might want to rethink their strategy, as respondents overwhelmingly supported Obama over Bush in a hypothetical match up by a margin of 53%-33%. This result illustrates the fact that the Republican Party still has a long way to go to erase the stain on the collective conscience of the American voter that was the Bush administration.
Even worse news was in the poll for all but formally announced 2012 presidential candidate Sarah Palin. In a hypothetical match up with Obama, Palin gets trounced by the current president, 55%-34%. This result speaks volumes about both Obama’s personal popularity, and the absolute unpopularity of Sarah Palin. If the Obama/Palin 2012 match up were to occur it would be both a disaster for the Republican Party, and an absolute god send to the Democrats, who already don’t have to worry much about Obama’s election, and could use their resources to lengthen Obama’s coattails into as many congressional races as possible.
When it comes to Palin the polls are very consistent, and have been for almost two years now. A majority of Americans rejected Palin in 2008, and her continued quest for the limelight has made them like her even less. Sarah Palin is a legitimate threat to win the Republican nomination in 2012 because the rest of the potential field is uninspiring to Republican primary voters, but Palin’s base of support is a group of dedicated followers who will definitely turn out to vote or caucus all through the primary season.
While Palin may possess the tools to win the Republican nomination, she is a fatally flawed national candidate that would send voters fleeing into the arms of Democrats up and down the ballot. Palin is so polarizing that she not only energizes Republicans to support her, but also Democrats and Independents against her. Barack Obama would have a field day with Sarah Palin, and the match up of the personally likable Obama with the unlikable Palin, would result in a resounding triumph for Obama, an epic defeat for the GOP, and the end of Sarah Palin’s 15 minutes of fame.