Are bottom and top changing places?

While I’m not a supporter of Sarah Palin, I said the other week, on the basis of seeing her performance on O’Reilly, that she was going to run for president. I also said that given Obama’s calamitous leadership, and given the fact that Palin is the Un-Obama and has a passionate following, she could be a plausible candidate. This week Obama’s approval rating (according to Gallup) has gone down to 47 percent (for a first year president!), while Palin’s approval rating (according to CNN) has risen to 46 percent (for someone widely considered a joke!). The despised rube has caught up with the god king.

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John M. writes:

Let us pray that she never becomes president. She is a false messiah for conservatives, and many liberals are projecting some sort of white nationalist Joan of Arc image on her, which she clearly isn’t. And yet she’ll be like George W. Bush 2.0, and conservatism and traditionalist defense of white America will be blamed for any of her failings. Even if she grants amnesty to all the illegal aliens living here, and immigration skyrockets, which it tends to do under the leadership of pro-business “conservatives,” she’ll still be boxed as a pro-white America conservative.

This is why it is imperative that we start a real white nationalist movement. Something that will provide disgruntled white Americans a real voice, and so they won’t have to turn to either the 1488 Cult or the GOP False Messiahs like Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, or Ron Paul. (It’s hard for me to list Ron Paul as I used to be a huge RP supporter, but now I see the errors of my past views.)

Todd White writes:

Certain media outlets, echoed by you, are comparing apples and oranges. There’s a difference between “favorability ratings” and “job approval ratings.” Favorability ratings for politicians are almost always higher than job approval ratings (for understandable reasons; just because a politician is likable doesn’t mean he or she is doing a good job). Therefore the one-point gap between Palin’s “favorability rating” and Obama’s “job approval rating” is not impressive at all.

In recent months, pollsters have done head-to-head matchups between Obama and Palin looking ahead to 2012, and Palin always trailed by around 7 to 10 points. Even today, I think Obama would beat Palin by a comfortable margin. A match-up between Obama and a more conventional Republican would probably be a near toss-up.

LA replies:

I take your point the two polls are using different measures and do not represent a direct match-up between Obama and Palin. Still, I think you’re missing the significance of the findings. Obama’s job approval has dropped in an unprecedentedly precipitous manner for a president in his first year, while Palin’s favorability has dramatically and unexpectedly risen. I don’t know off-hand what her favorability was four months ago, but surely it was a good deal lower than 46 percent. The upshot is that something that would have been considered inconceivable a few months ago is now conceivable and even likely: a plausible Palin challenge to Obama.

Todd White replies:
I certainly don’t disagree with your conclusion that Palin is in a stronger position and Obama is in a weaker position than they were several months ago. However, I do think the conservative media outlets are distorting today’s polls in such a negligent way that I’m almost tempted to say it’s dishonest. For example, right now, Drudge’s headline is “Poll: Palin Pulls Within 1-Point of Obama.” That, as I pointed, is flat-out wrong because he (and others) are comparing 2 different poll questions.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think Palin has much room for growth from a polling/ electoral perspective. Unlike say, Hillary Clinton who transcended high unfavorable ratings through smart political tactics and ideological rebranding, Palin has shown no signs of real growth during the past year. She has no desire to master the issues. She seems perfectly content with generic, braindead conservative talking points. While her book tour was finally successfully, it was a missed opportunity to rebrand himself. It was all about the past; nothing about the future. She is a modern version of what was once said about the French monarchy during the Napoleonic Wars: “They forgot nothing and they learned nothing.” Ditto with Palin. Until she adds some substance to her style (which shows no sign of happening), I don’t feel bad for disqualifying her as a potential conservative leader for 2012.

If the Republicans nominate Palin in 2012, it could be the greatest unforced error in party nomination history.

LA replies:

You are correct that the headline at Drudge is incorrect and misleading. However, that headline is only reflecting the headline that it links to: “Shocker polls: That Sarah Palin-Barack Obama gap melts to 1 point.” Moreover, that headline does not appear in a conservative outlet but in an online article by Andrew Malcolm at the Los Angeles Times, one of the leading liberal newspapers in America. Is the LA Times / Malcolm trying to advance Palin, or is it just, somewhat dishonestly, sensationalizing an already remarkable development the way journalists do?

It’s a mixed picture. While the headline is misleading, Malcolm in the article itself makes it reasonably clear that he’s talking about two different polls measuring two different things. However, he never really underscores the point and says, “These are two different polls measuring different things.” Worse, at one point he repeats the dishonest statement of the headline when he writes, “Palin now at 46% favorable, just one point below her fellow basketball fan.”

Here’s the first part of the article, with key passages bolded:

Lordy, Lordy, Lordy, look what the pollsters just brought in.

A pair of new surveys revealing that President Obama is still declining and has hit a new low in job approval among Americans just 56 weeks after they elected him with a decided margin.

And—wait for it—Republican Sarah Palin is successfully selling a whole lot more than books out there on the road. Even among those not lining up in 10-degree weather to catch a glimpse of pretty much the only political celebrity the GOP has these days.

First, el jefe. Facing double-digit unemployment, rising spending, deficits and Afghan war casualties plus a keystone but stalled healthcare reform effort that caused a rare Sunday presidential visit to Capitol Hill, Obama recently fell below 50% job approval for the first time.

Then, last week’s deft dance of rhetoric over sending reinforcements to Afghanistan but, on the other foot, bringing them home quickly maybe gave him a brief boost. That, however, collapsed with equal rapidity.

Obama’s new Gallup Poll job approval number is 47%. Last month it was 53%.

Regular Ticket readers will recall how in this space in late November we pointed out that Obama’s closely watched job approval slide was coinciding with Palin’s little-noticed rise in favorability. And it appeared they might cross somewhere in the 40s.

Well, ex-Sen. Obama, meet ex-Gov. Palin.

The new CNN/Opinion Research Poll shows Palin now at 46% favorable, just one point below her fellow basketball fan.

[LA replies: As Todd White points out, that is simply a false statement. To say that she’s “one point below” Obama signifies one point below him on the same poll measuring the same thing. So Malcolm, and not just his headline writer (assuming he didn’t write the headline himself, which he probably did) is to be taken to task for this.]

(The same poll, btw, has bad news for Dick Cheney-haters; the outspoken former VP has climbed out of the 29% basement, back up to 39% now. How do you suppose he’s done that without a new book? But that’s another story.)

Not that either Palin or Obama will admit caring about such trivial things as disparate political polls….

… 1,071 days before the 2012 election, when Republicans will have the concept of change on their side. Obama’s camp is already using the looming Palin pall as a fundraising tool. Never let any potential threat go unmonetized.

The new numbers seem to indicate that despite oft-cited predictions about the dire impact of Palin resigning her Alaska governor’s job in July, a lot of people who don’t live in Alaska (and, come to think of it, most people don’t live in Alaska) don’t seem to care. She wasn’t their governor then and she still isn’t.

Palin’s low favorable poll point of 39% came right after the midsummer resignation and she’s been slowly climbing since, fueled by media attention, eager reader response over her book contents, her tour and the spontaneous outpouring of support at her carefully-calculated bus stops along the way—31 appearances in 25 states, many of them politically crucial.

Imagine what critics would be saying now if Palin was neglecting her elected Juneau job to sell books in the Lower 48 and talk to an elite club of Washington journalists, if there is such a thing….

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 08, 2009 11:56 AM | Send

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