Home > General > Can Palin Favorables Change? Hillary Might Think So

Can Palin Favorables Change? Hillary Might Think So

First, let’s start with a scenario:  Say a reporter walked up to you and asked, “So, do you think Michelle Obama looks good in red?” You have no idea having never seen Obama in red before. The next day a different reporter asks you the same question, “Don’t you think M.O. looks great in red?” Again you shake your head, and wondering perhaps if she does look good in red, but not really caring. The next day you are watching CNN and they run a poll that asks “Does Michelle Obama look good in red? Yes or no?”

Finally, a week later a pollster calls you and asks what color Michelle Obama looks best in and you emphatically answer: “Red, duh!” Does it matter that you have never seen her in red? Does it even matter that she might never have worn red?

This is how the media treats Sarah Palin. They run a story about a nut-job in Arizona gunning down a handful of people. In nearly every story regarding that incident, the media tosses Palin’s name in in the fashion of “Well golly, he shot that there congressman, and Palin had a map with a bulls-eye. Now, did Sarah Palin’s bulls-eye have anything to do with the shooting?” After a long enough while, people began answering yes. And this has been the media’s operation for years, plugging her into any story in any negative way they can. But the question remains, is this something that can be overcome?

So Palin vs. Hillary

One of the main reasons that establishment Republicans give for Palin being “unelectable” is that her favorable opinion meter is too far upside down, and those people can, allegedly, never have their minds changed. Bill O’Reilly states as much nightly on his television show as his buddy-buddy establishment “analysts” nod their head in agreement. Laura Ingraham chimed in on his show this week that Palin won’t run because she can see the numbers that everyone else sees. But are the unable to be changed as the analysts predict?

In January of 1993, Hillary Clinton had a net favorable rating of around +30. She had a steady rise in negatives for the next 3 years and broke the 50% unfavorable mark in 1996 and collapsed t0 -9% net, as more people saw her unfavorably than favorably. A 39 point net favorability swing. By the late 90s, after Bill’s scandals, she reversed course once again and catapulted to almost 70% favorable, and +36 net overall. A net 45 point swing. Just two years later, her unfavorables skyrocketed once again and hit 25 points as she hit 53% and had a net unfavorable once again at -9%. In March of this year, she stood at 66% favorable to 31% unfavorable, or a 2 to 1 favorable over unfavorable rating. (Hell, even I have a favorable opinion of her at this point). In 18 years of public life, Hillary Clinton has had multi-years net favorability swings of up to 40%, up or down.

Obviously, Clinton’s ups and downs also go up and down in correlation to things that have happened. As She started out as First Lady, she was seen overwhelmingly positive. Things turned when she pushed for universal healthcare in the mid-90s. Things turned in her favor once again when she became part of a, ummm, “vast right wing conspiracy” and people apparently felt sorry for her. And then went south as she ran for Senate in New York and became a main Bush adversary. And then returned upwards as she has become the possibly only sane non-Bush holdover in the Obama administration.

So, how does this relate to Sarah Palin? In the new age of fast and furious media, Palin’s rollercoaster has been much quicker.  But let’s take a look:

During her 2008  VP run, Sarah Palin remained mostly above water in Favorability. As I showed before, after all 4 main candidates gave their convention speeches, Palin was seen more favorably than any of McCain, Obama, or Biden. A week after Palin’s Convention speech (deemed by the media as mean and radical) Palin had net positive favorable ratings of:

Newsweek: +30 (58-28 Favorable vs Unfavorable)

NBC News: +20 (47-27)

CNN/Opinion RSR: +30 (57-27)

USA Today/Gallup: +25 (53-28)

This was after Palin had been around for several weeks, and after she gave a “controversial” speech knocking Obama’s fancy columns, but before the media unleashed on her. All of the polls bumped upwards from the weeks prior.

An interesting comparison is to then-nominee Obama. A week after his 2008 convention speech, his favorables were as follows:

Newsweek +20 (57-37)

NBC News/WSJ +21 (53-32)

CNN/Opinion Research +26 (60-34)

Before the media assault, Palin was actually viewed more favorably than The Chosen One. (See full Unknown Known analysis here) So, during the 2008 Campaign, she was liked well enough.

By election day 2008, the Journolisters had been in full force for weeks: Gotcha or Lame questions; constant stories questioning Palin’s qualifications while never wondering the same about Obama; Stories about her birth; “troopergate”; “I can see Russie from my House (something 70% of Obama voters believe Palin actually said). Still, by election week, Palin stood at 37-37 F/U in a NYT poll, she stood at +6 (49-43) in a week-of election poll by CNN, and +4 favorability by Newsweek.

A year later in November of 2009, Palin stood at +7 (49-42) in a Fox News Poll. In 2009 she still managed a 44-42 in Newsweek. Most polls in 2008-2009 had Palin at least break-even in favorability.

2010 things would change. As Palin returned to the public spotlight (after being forced from the Governor’s mansion by morons filing phony ethics charges that proved to expensive to defend, personally and otherwise) she returned to the spotlight as Obama’s main foe. As every word was twisted and turned (death panels anyone?) she was characterized by the media as an extremist, nutjob, teabagger, and so on.

In 2010, her Unfavorables hung out in the low to mid 40s in most polling done by CBS/NYT, NBC/WSJ, CBS, CNN, and Gallup. But her favorables slipped into the “undecided” column. After all, you aren’t allowed to admit you like her, are you?

2011 Got off to a bang for the media elites as they literally tied Sarah Palin to the rampage of a madman in Arizona. And I know how to use the word literally, and I mean it. Nearly every story that reported the shooting tied in Sarah Palin’s name/actions somehow. It worked, and Palin fell into the 50s in unfavorability. But her high unfavorable has never really been much worse than Hillary Clinton’s high unfavorable ratings, who has seen her numbers go way way up, and then way way down, multiple times.

But the GOP Establishment Claims that a 58% Unfavorable is doomsday. (Obama hits the 50s regularly in job disapproval, is that a doomsday too?).Why is Palin seen unfavorably: I regularly ask my Republican friends what they think of Sarah Palin. Usually they say they like her but thinks she is unelectable. When I ask “why” I either get no answer or that she has been beaten up too badly by the media.Obviously, her poll numbers do reflect the media portrayal of her. But that is the good news for Palin.

With the 80/20 rule, you have to remember that 80% of the people only pay attention 20% of the time, and the other 20% pay attention 80% of the time. So whereas I know tons about Obama, Palin, Newt, Biden, Pelosi, and so on, my wife knows she likes that lady from the TLC show and the Pres is a d-bag, but that’s about as far as she knows (or cares to know). Because Palin’s image has been built on a lie, it will be much easier for her to overcome such an image. If the things that they have been saying about her were true, she would be doomed. But because they are not, her favorables can only rise. The one big mistake the media may have made in trying to take down Palin, is that they have lowered the expectations for her so low, that her being able to walk and talk is probably enough to impress some of these non-political voters. “Wow, who knew she could do all of that.” The people who do not have a favorable opinion of her do so because they think she is dumb and can see Russia from her house. How much can it take to turn them back around?

Categories: General
  1. June 1, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    All of the medias abuse of Sarah has done something else, also. It’s set her free. She doesn’t have to fear their attacks. They threw their best at her, and she is still standing. She won, they lost. She can do and say as she pleases, and the people like when Sarah speaks freely. Now she’s making fools out of the entire Left wing media, and people like that, too, A LOT.
    I was heartened by your comparison to Hillary’s favorable fluctuations. Thank you.

    • oic
      June 5, 2011 at 1:45 am

      too early to say its a win. The media managed to achieve a 60% against her, with her approval at 40%. So she will need to turn it around by 11%. Certainly achievable when the bond and USD crashes

  2. Bill589
    June 5, 2011 at 12:22 am

    I remember a couple of years ago many conservatives were saying that we can never again let the left and their media pick the Republican candidate.

    Did we forget what we said?

    And how I understand it, the founders put great importance on a free press. As long as we have one – we will have liberty. IMO, we should work like Palin to free it.

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