Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Palin still popular... but only with Republicans

By Michael J.W. Stickings

A new poll shows that Palin is not just still popular with Republicans but even more popular with them since her oh-so-shocking resignation announcement.

Which is pretty much as expected.

She was all about the GOP mob during the campaign last year, and she has, since then, spun herself as a victim of all that the mob loathes: liberals, the media, elites on both coasts. And she went so far as to spin her impending resignation as a firm stand against her various enemies.

Republicans -- the hard-core extremists in the base, at least -- eat up that sort of self-victimization, and, to them, Palin is, at the moment, the martyr to end all martyrs, their hope for a future in which they rule once again. Some Republicans, to be sure, are less than enamored of her, but there is no denying her standing on the far right -- or, actually, at the very core of -- the Republican Party.

But all does not look so bright for Palin and her political ambitions. Other than Republicans, most Americans are rather less supportive:

Independents by 55%-34% would prefer she leave the national stage.

The findings underscore how polarized opinions of Palin were even before Friday's surprise announcement. Seven in 10 polled say their views weren't affected by her decision. Among those whose opinions shifted, Democrats by a 4-1 ratio and independents by 2-to-1 view her less favorably. Republicans are somewhat inclined to see her more favorably.

Sounds about right. Among other things, Palin is a deeply polarizing figure. But a polarizing figure who turns off not just Democrats but independents (as well as many of the more sensible Republicans out there, though there aren't all that many of them) is pretty much a dead end as "a major national political figure," which is what most Republicans want her to be.

So, as one who is not a Republican, I say to Republicans: Go with Palin. She's your future. Have a nice time in perpetual oblivion.

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