When it comes down to nominating a standard bearer to challenge President Obama in 2012, Republicans would much rather pick a candidate they think can beat Obama than one who shares all their values but whom they doubt could win in the general election, according to a CNN poll released this morning.
In the poll, 68% of Republicans said they’d prefer the GOP nominee to stand a fighting chance against Obama, even if that candidate disagrees with them on some key issues. Only 29% said they’d rather nominate a candidate who agrees with hem on every issue they consider important but who might not be able to oust the President in a general election.
That would seem to be a rebuke to Sarah Palin who, though immensely popular among Republicans, is loathed by just about everyone else. The latest TPM Poll Average shows that only 31.6% of all Americans have a favorable opinion of Palin, while 54.1% view her unfavorably — and her support is still falling.
While other GOP contenders like Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney come within striking distance of Obama in national polls, the signs point toward a blow-out for Obama if Palin emerges as the Republican nominee. Six in ten Americans said they wouldn’t even consider voting Palin into the White House in an ABC/Washington Post poll conducted last December. Palin performs abysmally in state by state match-ups against Obama as well. Two polls showed that a Palin nomination could throw two states — South Dakota and Nebraska — into the Democratic win column for the first time since 1964.
In the same CNN poll, however, Republicans named Palin their second choice for the party nod, just two points behind Mike Huckabee. Twenty-one percent of respondents said Huckabee was their top choice, while 19% backed Palin, and 18% supported Romney.
Whether voters will bail on Palin come primary season is unclear. They may stick by her to the end, believing that she can make Obama a one term president. Yet if they’re really willing to compromise on some issues if it means nominating a more viable candidate, they’re likely to look elsewhere.