Thursday, December 16, 2010


Is Sarah Palin "electable"? Is there any way she could be elected President of the United States?
Not at the moment. In the new Wall Street Journal poll, she trails President Obama in a hypothetical match-up by a wide margin (55%-33%).

Former Governor Mitt Romney also trails President Obama at this point in the pre-primary season, but by a much narrower margin (47%-40%). The fact that President Obama's "number" (against Romney) is 47% (and not, say, 53% or 55%) is indicative of his precarious political standing. Less than a majority of the nation's electorate would choose him over someone they don't know very well at all. Never a good sign.

Presidential trial heats are fun (and often informative), but they're also irrelevant. In order to qualify for the real trial heat, one has to win the GOP Presidential nomination first. And amongst caucus-attending and primary voting Republicans, especially in the early states, Palin is seen by most to be the de facto front-runner for the nomination.

So the question is this: over the course of the next 12 months, will her perceived "electability" problem hurt her in the early states? Will it cause caucus-attending and primary voter Republicans in those states to say: "we love you Sarah but you can't win, so we're going with someone who can?" Or will the constant pronouncement of Palin's "un-electability" from the "Lame Stream Media" have the opposite effect? Will it cause activists and true believers to say, essentially, "we'll see about that?"

The answer to this question will determine the outcome of the GOP presidential nomination battle and the general election campaign. If GOP primary voters and caucus attenders decide that electability is an essential qualification, then Palin is done. If they decide that anyone can beat President Obama in 2012, so they can take a chance, then Palin is going to be a very formidable contender for the GOP presidential nomination indeed.

President Obama is hoping and praying that Republican caucus-attenders and primary voters dismiss the "electability" argument out of hand. As the poll shows, Ms. Palin makes Mr. Obama a whole lot more electable.