Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Little Palin Blogging

In response to the latest polling on the Sage of Wasilla, which show her continuing to lose support even among Republicans, I went looking through my old posts on her to see if I could claim a little told-you-so -- if I had clearly said that if she continued to snub party leaders they would eventually turn against her, and if that happened (as it has) then the rank-and-file, or at least many of them, would follow, regardless of how popular she was with them back then. Yup! Hey, I'm wrong sometimes (and I'll try to 'fess up when I am), but I think I nailed this one.

I bring that up because I still don't think it's too late for Sarah Palin to turn it around, at least in large part, if she suddenly decided to play by the rules that normal candidates follow. Policy expertise can be bought and faked; party leaders, whether they're national columnists, interest group leaders, or locals in Iowa and New Hampshire, can be schmoozed. It increasingly appears that either she is constitutionally incapable of doing those things or just has no interest in it, and even if she does them there's no guarantee she would be nominated...but it is clear now, as it has been from the start, that the normal rules of politics apply to her regardless of what she or anyone else thinks.

One other thing that I did come across from last summer which still seems relevant now is the question of whether Republicans will campaign with Sarah Palin. I said then that given how few people, especially swing voters, are Palin fans -- but also how many Republicans remain strong supporters -- that it would make sense for Democrats to press their GOP opponents over whether they would campaign with her or not. Of course, skilled politicians know how to duck questions for which there are no good answers, but it can't hurt to ask those questions.

(And apologies for the self-centered nature of this post).


  1. While I fully agree that your old post nailed it, I don't agree that this constitutes evidence of that.

    The poll is simply of Republican identifiers. It's not a comprehensive collection of polls in early states, money raised, treatment in the press, etc.--the things that party elites have control over. Over the long haul, yes, these things have an impact on the larger set of fellow travelers. But, they're first and foremost aimed at the voters that "matter." That won't show up in a national poll. Chances are her numbers here are much more due to her ham-fisted Tucson response, getting (relatively) less exposure over the last 6 weeks (my data to back this up), and random error.

    You're not wrong. This just isn't the evidence that you're right. I think the best measure of that is impressionistic, unfortunately.

  2. Matt,

    Well, I'd say that what drove the effect of her Tucson response wasn't that it was particularly off-key, but that GOP elites called her on it. So I'm putting the "Tucson" part of that in my basket, thank you.

    And one of the ways that party elites influence Iowa and NH voters is by influencing voters overall.


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