Sarah Palin might have really squandered an opportunity to improve her image last week.
Despite endless discussion in the wake of the Arizona shootings about whether Palin might bear any responsibility for fostering an atmosphere conducive to such an attack, 64% of Americans firmly say Palin has no culpability to just 26% who think she is partly to blame. Even among Americans with an unfavorable opinion of Palin- the vast majority of them- most don't think she should be getting the shooting pinned on her in any way, shape, or form.
Beyond that there are a significant number of voters, even beyond Palin's small group of partisans, who think she gets treated unfairly by the media. 45% of voters in the country think Palin gets a bad shake from the press to 47% who think that she is treated fairly. Given that Palin's favorability is a 35/58 spread, these numbers show that there are a decent number of voters who don't even like Palin who still think she gets treated unfairly.
So with a strong majority of Americans thinking that Palin had no responsibility for the shootings and almost half of them thinking the media mistreats her, she was in a more sympathetic position with voters across the country last week than she had found herself in a long time. And then she made the video...
Most Americans familiar with Palin's video response to the Arizona shootings think it was inappropriate- that's where 40% of voters stand to 33% who were not familiar with her response and 27% who thought it was fine. Even among Republicans only 41% thought that what she did was proper- Democrats (60%) are much more unified in their feeling that it was not. Independents split toward thinking the video was inappropriate as well by a 42/28 margin.
Where does Palin stand now? In our monthly 2012 Presidential poll, which we'll release later this week, she trails Barack Obama by 17 points. That's the largest deficit we've found for her since May of 2009. She started last week with an opportunity to make some head way. She ended it perhaps further away from the Presidency than she's been since the day before John McCain picked her as his running mate.
Full results here