According to new Pew Research survey released today, there are a ton of negatives for any candidate running for election in 2010, but there is no bigger negative, except for supporting the bank bailouts, for a candidate than an endorsement from Sarah Palin. 42% of those surveyed said that a Palin endorsement would make them not vote for a candidate.
The Pew Research/National Journal survey was conducted to discover what are the biggest potential negatives for candidates running for office in 2010. The survey confirms that the bad economy has left the electorate in surly mood, but the media narrative of this being an anti-incumbent outsider year is not necessarily true. While 26% said that incumbency would make them less likely to vote for a candidate, compared to 12% who would, a majority of those asked (53%) said that it made no difference whether a candidate was an incumbent.
The biggest advantage that incumbents of both parties have working in their favor is that voters love pork. Fifty three percent said that they are more likely to vote for a candidate who has a record of bringing government projects and money to their district. Being a fresh face is an advantage this year, but it is not as big of positive as Republicans had hoped for. Twenty seven percent of those surveyed said they would vote for a candidate who has never held office before, compared to 21% who wouldn’t, and it didn’t matter to 47%.
The media pushed Republican mythology surrounding this election is that voters are voting against the unpopular health care reform bill, but this also appears to be not true, as 35% of respondents wouldn’t vote for a candidate who supported health care reform, but 36% would, and it made no difference to 25%. There were two really big negatives for any candidate running for Congress this year. The first one was supporting the still unpopular, Bush bank bailout. If a candidate supported the bailout, 46% of those surveyed were less likely to vote for you.
Who or what could possibly be a bigger killer of candidates than supporting the Wall Street bailout? The answer is Sarah Palin, as 42% of those surveyed were less likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by Palin. Only 15% were more likely to support a Palin endorsed candidate, and for 37% Palin’s endorsement made no difference either way. To put this into context Palin was a bigger negative for candidates than having the support of Barack Obama (33%) or the Tea Party (32%). An endorsement from Palin definitely helps a candidate in the GOP primary, but is a huge liability in the general election.
Palin is so unpopular that not only does she drag herself down, but also the fortunes of those she supports. This is not the first time that we have seen numbers like this. A recent Public Policy Polling survey found that Palin is as popular as BP with Independent voters. An NBC News/WSJ poll earlier this summer found that a Palin endorsement would make 37% of respondents less comfortable supporting a candidate.
This is why Joe Miller non-committal when asked on Fox News if he would endorse Palin for 2012. This non-endorsement lead to the now famous irate Todd Palin “shoe’s email“. Miller did what any intelligent Republican for Congress should do, use Sarah Palin for her primary endorsement, then run as far as humanly possible away from her in the general election because she is absolutely toxic. This is also why some Republican candidates are telling Palin to stay away and not campaign for them.
The results of the Pew Research survey are a dose of reality for Palin supporters and Todd Palin’s 2012 presidential campaign strategy. It is obvious that the Palin’s are using the 2010 election endorsements to build political capital for 2012. The strategy was prefaced on the giant assumption that a Palin endorsement would help Republican candidates get elected, but not only is it not helping, it is hurting Republicans who are trying to get into Congress with the Palin seal of approval.
This is more evidence that Democrats around the country need to be campaigning against Palin, not the candidate that she has endorsed. In districts and states where Palin has weighed in, the race needs to Palinized. The election should be about what it means to put a slate of candidates who share Sarah Palin’s beliefs in office. If Democrats take advantage of this, she will continue to be the gift that keeps on giving, but her biggest present will come in 2012 if the GOP is foolish enough to nominate her.
Not only will Palin be trounced by Obama, but whatever seats the GOP gains in 2010, they will lose in 2012 under Palin’s leadership. The GOP is the Exxon Valdez, and Palin is piloting the ship right into an epic disaster.