A nationwide poll of Republican voters was released by the Clarus Research Group, and it contained some bad news for Sarah Palin. While the race for the 2012 nomination remains wide open, support for Sarah Palin has declined 33% in a year. Mitt Romney leads the field followed by Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, and Palin.
Early leader Mitt Romney has seen his support drop four points from 30% one year ago to a current 26%. Second place finisher Mike Huckabee has remained steady as his support has gone from 22% one year ago to 21% today. Newt Gingrich has seen his support increase by one point from 14% one year ago to 15% today, but the one Republican who has seen their support erode is Sarah Palin, who has seen her support slide from 18% one year ago to 12% today.
Ron Faucheux, the president of Clarus pointed out, “Palin gets more attention from the national media than presidential support from Republicans. The major change since March is that Gingrich has now edged out Palin for third place, even though the two are running well within the statistical margin of error.” The interesting thing is that despite her abysmal overall approval ratings, Palin has remained wildly popular with Republicans. According to a July Gallup poll, she enjoys a 76% approval rating among Republicans.
Palin is personally more popular than Romney, Huckabee, or Gingrich, so why is she losing support? There are several possible explanations. The first explanation could be that even some Republicans know that Palin and her erratic reality television star behavior are not qualified to be president. As much as they like her, some could easily view her as not presidential material, or more importantly, not capable of defeating Obama.
A second possibility is Palin fatigue. Since she resigned as governor, the woman simply has not gone away. While Mitt Romney has been quietly organizing for 2012, Sarah has been selling books, hanging out on Fox News, filming reality shows, engaging in media feuds, and pockets wads of cash for speeches. It could be that some her fellow Republicans are tired of Sarah. This is why avoiding the media spotlight, as Mitt Romney is doing, can be very helpful. It is hard to relaunch a previously unsuccessful candidate if they never go away.
There could be reasons big and small why some Republicans don’t care for Palin, and I would not underestimate a potential gender backlash from the older white male Republican demographic, but it is clear that Sarah Palin’s trend is moving the wrong way. Even if her support would continue to decline, I don’t see this preventing Palin from running for President. The GOP field is too fragmented. There is no clear frontrunner, and a candidate with Palin’s loyal following might be able to do just enough to steal the nomination if primary voters split two or three ways, but it does look like that even some Republicans are realizing that Palin makes a better celebrity than she would a president.