Despite Sarah Palin’s apparent crash and burn absurd "blood libel" reference controversy and her subsequent defense/attack, "I am a victim and so are you" interview with Hannity, Palin still ranks as one of the top three in a recent survey carried out from January 13 to 17 by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal - conducted several days after the Arizona shooting, which happened on January 8. Sarah Palin's "blood libel speech" happened on January 12, one day before the polling started for this survey.
The survey included questions that were to be addressed only to Republican or strict Independents with regard to a list of people who might seek the GOP nomination for President in the upcoming primaries for the 2012 Elections. In the survey, Romney ranks first at 19%, closely followed by Huckabee at 18%, and Palin polling at 14%. I have included the full poll results because the findings are interesting. There is a significant gap between the top three and the fourth placed and fifth placed preferences, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. However, the primaries are a year away and there is still a lot of time for such gaps to be closed or for new candidate names to become more prominent.
Haley Barbour’s name makes an appearance but Michelle Bachmann is not mentioned by name despite the recent chatter that she is considering a run for the Presidency herself. Bachmann is a native of Iowa, raised in Cedar Falls, who yesterday delivered a keynote speech at a fundraiser for Iowans for Tax Relief PAC in Des Moines in which she intimated that she is proud that none of her children are in jail right now, waxed lyrical on American exceptionalism and the “thunder cloud of debt” that America presently faces.
The Iowans for Tax Relief Pac is headed by Ed Failor Jnr and access to its 55,000 member list is much desired by those considering mounting a campaign for the Presidency. I think that it is worth pointing out that some consider that a better name for the Iowans for Tax Relief Pac would be Iowans for Special Interest Loopholes and High Rates because despite its name the group supports special interest and corporate tax subsidies which it is thought result in tax rises for the majority. Bachman says that she would like to see a similar Pac set up in her own state of Minnesota.
On page 17 of this very comprehensive survey we find the opinions about some of the potential Republican nominees:
That Sarah Palin’s name still appears in the top three amongst Republican and Independent voters must drive to distraction those in the GOP and others who insist that she has “done herself in” due to her deaf like response to the Gabby Giffords shooting. And it should, because despite the repudiation of the violent imagery which her 2010 campaign used and the rejection of her as a victim by many these latest figures show that she clearly still maintains the strong support of the right wing base and that this support is unlikely to change.
Sarah Palin is a divisive personality who engages in extreme rhetoric as a matter of course. There is a significant number of very angry voters in the USA who feel disenfranchised because they feel that neither the Republicans nor the Democratic Party represent them. They feel disenchanted with both parties because they have lost their homes, their jobs or even both. They can see no solutions. Those angry voters will gravitate naturally to the loudest angry voice during the primaries. That voice looks like it will be Palins. That she is quiet now is the lull before the storm.
Please don't get me wrong: I am of course well aware that the chances that Sarah Palin would win a presidential election against Barack Obama are very slim. However, it has to be noted that the shooting in Arizona and Sarah Palin's controversial reaction do not appear to have had any impact on her overall "negative" ratings, as the following chart shows. On page 5 of the survey, we are told that there is a significant drop in the "very positive rating", but the overall "negative" ratings haven't changed at all:
Therefore, the comparison between the positive/negative ratings for Sarah Palin in this survey from January 2011 is virtually identical to the ratings by the same pollsters from December 2010, which Palingates previously reported.
The notion that the shooting in Arizona and Sarah Palin's reaction to it have damaged her chances to win the Republican primaries is not supported by this survey.
Anyone declaring victory at this point in the fight against Sarah Palin might be in for a very unpleasant surprise.