Blood Libel Sends Sarah Palin into Freefall
Although Sarah Palin told Sean Hannity last night that she was not ready to make an announcement regarding her political future, America is ready to make it for her. According to a Gallup poll released today, Palin has plunged in the polls again, hitting a new low. This poll comes on the heels of the Arizona massacre that many associated with Palin’s crosshairs map as well as her “Blood Libel” video that she put out on the day of the memorial. Palin’s approval ratings have plunged by six percent since last July.
A new Gallup poll commissioned by USA Today after the Tucson massacre found that Palin’s rating is at its lowest level since she burst onto the national political scene in September 2008. She is now seen in a favorable light by only 38 percent of US voters, while an astonishing 53 percent have an unfavorable view. Last July, 44 percent of Americans viewed her favorably while 47 percent viewed her negatively, so Palin has plunged 6 percent in approval ratings while her negatives have also risen by 6 percent. And in a new Washington Post poll, nearly half disapproved of her conduct after the shootings, with approval ratings even among Republicans of under 50 percent.
This tells us that the politics of division and violent rhetoric may appeal to the Tea Party faction of the GOP, but they do not appeal to most Americans. Americans want a leader they can trust, someone they feel is being honest with them while fair with the other side and Sarah Palin simply doesn’t evoke that. Her “Blood Libel” video brought the confidence in her to a new low, as she chose the day of the memorial to invoke the controversial term “blood libel” to describe the reactions of the American people against her, showing that she saw herself as a victim of the press and the American people at a time when the people needed a leader.
Americans want their president to be someone who not only leads them but also guides them and even offers them solace in times of deep crisis and pain. And we see this in the President’s surge in a new CNN poll. According to the new CNN poll released today, President Barack Obama’s star is on the rise. The poll was taken on taken Jan. 14-16 and reflects the President’s handling of the Arizona shooting tragedy as well as the productivity of the lame duck session.
59 percent of Americans now believe President Obama is strong and tough enough to handle a crisis. In fact, his approval rating is up six points since December. The best news for the President is that this jump comes from independent voters, whose support has risen from 41 percent in December to 56 percent now. And overall, 57 percent of Americans now consider him a strong and decisive leader.
The public also rallied behind the President for his call to more civil politics, with nearly 9 out of 10 Americans considering him to be a good communicator, which puts the President on par with Ronald Reagan in 1984. CNN Polling Director Keating Holland explained, “The poll tested Obama on a variety of personal characteristics, and he gets high marks for honesty, sincerity, leadership skills and compassion.”
When we contrast the styles of President Obama and Sarah Palin, we find a President who lead the entire nation through a crisis and called for a more civil political discourse. The President’s speech was empathetic, uplifting, and introspective, whereas Sarah Palin’s Blood Libel video was all about Sarah Palin and her image.
Palin’s deeply paranoid nature makes it impossible for her to rise to an occasion and put aside pettiness. She has spent all of her media time since the shootings defending her image, when she should have been offering introspection and leadership, as well as displaying empathy for the victims. Palin also made it clear that she views many American citizens as enemies rather than potential constituents in her relentless reference to her “opposition”.
The American people have rejected Palin’s divisive approach to politics once again, and this may be too deep a hole for even someone with Palin’s charm to overcome.