If some GOP leaders want Sarah Palin to fade quickly and quietly from the media scene, she is certainly not being particularly cooperative.
With as yet undisclosed electoral plans, Palin packs political clout with rank-and-file Republicans. According to the latest national Marist Poll numbers, 73% of GOPers have a favorable view of the former Alaska Governor, and she ranks right up there with Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee as their morning line pick for the 2012 presidential sweepstakes. This is the case despite a slim majority of Republicans who think her early resignation as governor was a mistake.
Is the GOP nomination within her sights? You betcha! Palin could carry her intense following into key caucus and primary states. But, herein lies the rub. Palin trails President Obama by 23 percentage points nationwide in this same Marist Poll.
Cause for GOP worry? Absolutely. Palin attracts only 4% of Democrats in this hypothetical matchup to Obama’s 20% of Republican voters. President Obama may be slipping lately among all-important Independent voters (his marquee bi-partisan appeal may have lost some of its luster). But, he still leads Palin by 15 percentage points with these persuadable voters. And, there is no reverse gender gap in the numbers.
OK … there are still more political scenarios between now and 2012 than there are icicles in Alaska. But, this one spells potential trouble big-time for the GOP. John McCain’s 2008 parting gift to the Republican Party may carry over into the 2012 presidential election cycle with GOP hopes of recapturing the White House evaporating along the way.