Quick, what is the last thing you remember Sarah Palin saying?
Not so long ago, every time the former governor of Alaska/vice-presidential candidate/reality-TV star posted any kind of statement on Facebook, it would echo around the media universe and be dissected over and over again. She had tons of power as a plain-spoken conservative woman with a devoted base and a potentially game-changing 2012 presidential candidate. Republican critics, and they are legion, were afraid to criticize her publicly and draw down the wrath upon them.
Now, it seems that Palin’s part in the national political conversation is shrinking. Her favorability rating in polls has dropped, even among Republican voters, and it is generally acknowledged that even if she were to win the GOP nomination, she’d lose to President Obama and perhaps bring a Goldwater-style debacle on the party.
Palin’s average unfavorable rating is 57 percent, based on 159 nationwide polls taken from August 2008, when she was running for vice president, through April 4. Her average favorability rate: 30.2 percent.
The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found Palin running in fifth place – with 10 percent support – in a hypothetical Republican nomination race. Palin’s favorability rating was 25 percent in that survey.
Okay, but both of those measures include the opinions of a lot of Democrats, squishy Republicans and independents, groups that, in general, have long looked askance at Palin. She’s still beloved in the base, right?
Yes, but Republicans don’t love her as madly as before, if a Washington Post-ABC News poll from mid-March is to be believed. That poll found that Palin’s favorability rating had dipped to 60 percent among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents – down from about 90 percent when she was nominated to be John McCain’s 2008 running mate.
The Fix columnist, Chris Cilizza of the Washington Post, recently looked at these and other signs and pronounced that Palin had reached her “tipping point” and that it would be difficult for her to reframe her image and gear up a successful presidential campaign. (Though, as Cilizza allows, not impossible.)
Palin seemed to start going downhill with her widely condemned response to the January shooting of Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Ariz. Palin played the victim, whining that the liberal media were rushing to blame conservatives for the outburst of violence at a shopping center. It went nuclear when she used the term “blood libel,” a historically loaded term referring to fictions trafficked against Jews by anti-Semites.
What do you guys think? Is Sarah Palin toast (as an electoral figure)? Discuss.