Sarah Palin's been bucking the Republican establishment a lot lately, endorsing Rand Paul and feuding with the RNC. You would expect that makes her the favorite of anti-establishment Republicans looking toward 2012. But our early polling indicates that's not the case.
Our national survey earlier this week found Palin with 23%, trailing Mitt Romney's 33% standing by ten points. But with voters who disapprove of the direction of the Republican party Palin's support stands at just 16%, a full 20 points behind Romney's 36% standing with those voters. She actually gets her best numbers with Republicans who are happy with where the party's headed- among them she gets 27% and lags Romney's 32% by only five points.
When we think about Republicans displeased with the direction of their party it usually conjures an image of far right conservatives who think their party is too liberal. But they're actually more moderate than the party's voters as a whole. Overall 78% of GOP voters identify as conservatives to just 19% as moderates. But among unhappy Republicans 71% are conservatives and 27% are moderates.
That goes a long way toward explaining why Palin doesn't poll that well with discontented Republican voters. A lot of them are people who don't think the party has put forward a winning message in the last two elections- and those folks don't think Palin is the solution to the party's recent struggles at the polls.