Sarah Palin's favorability numbers peaked in our polling on a couple of July polls right after she announced her resignation as Governor of Alaska then saw a steady decline until last month when they saw a small up tick. In the two July surveys she was at 46/45 and 47/45 and now she's at 40/49.
What's interesting is that her numbers have not seen an across the board decline since the summer. She's actually gone up with some groups and down with others.
Who she's doing better with:
-Conservative Democrats and independents. Her favorability with conservative Dems has gone from 33 and 47% in the two July surveys to now 52%. With conservative independents she's gone from 64 and 65% to the July polls to now 84%. Perhaps Palin has become more palatable to these voters as they've become more disenchanted with President Obama.
Who she's doing worse with:
-Liberal Democrats and moderate independents. It's pretty surprising but her favorability was actually 18 and 22% with liberal Democrats on the two July polls. Now it's 4%. I think she must have gotten some sort of sympathy bounce from her resignation- you know liberal Democrats are very compassionate people. Palin's drop with those voters can't be particularly worrisome to her backers since those folks were never going to vote for her anyway. The decline with moderate independents is a bigger problem- from 41 and 32% in the two July surveys to now just 19%. Last week I wrote about how some of the folks Obama was losing would still prefer him to Palin and those numbers reflect that. That is a concern for her general election viability.
Who she's doing the same with:
-Conservative Republicans, moderate Republicans, moderate Democrats. There's no doubt Palin is the darling of conservative Republicans and there's been little change about that- her numbers with them have come down at 84%, 81%, and 87% in the three polls. There's likewise not much ambiguity about the dislike moderate Democrats have for her- 8%, 21%, and 11% in these three surveys. And moderate Republicans are relatively divided on her with a slight lean toward a positive view- 47%, 64%, and 57% over the course of the three polls.
Where does Palin stand? With the groups that make up the greatest swath of Republican primary voters, very well. Conservative Republicans are the biggest group she needs to like her on that front and there are actually almost an equal number of conservative independents to moderate Republicans so in states with open or semi open primaries she will likely benefit from their votes as well.
When it comes to the general election her position obviously is not as good though. It is a good sign for her that she may be able to peel some off some conservative Democrats but that's not nearly as large a voter group as moderate independents and tellingly while Obama's approval rating with them is just 58% his share of the vote against Palin with them is 63%. She's going to need to expand her appeal there to win over the folks who aren't sold on Obama but are even less sold on her.
And of course we are 35 months away from November 2012!