Sarah Palin will headline the Sept. 17 annual Ronald Reagan dinner and state GOP fundraiser in Iowa, a move sure to feed media speculation about her plans vis a vis the 2012 presidential campaign, given that Iowa holds the first-in-the-nation caucuses on Feb. 6, 2012.
The Iowa appearance is yet another high-profile event focusing attention on the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee of the Republican Party. Last weekend, Ms. Palin was a featured speaker at Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.
Palin, a Fox News contributor, has played down speculation about her own political future. She told Fox News on Monday evening that she is currently focused on helping to elect conservative Republicans in the November midterm elections, according to a report on the broadcast by The Hill.
The website theiowarepublican.com broke the news about her Iowa appearance, highlighting the rising role of political websites unaffiliated with old-line print and broadcast news organizations. The annual dinner is a major fundraiser for the Iowa Republican Party, and GOP presidential hopefuls often attend.
The Iowa visit would be Palin’s first to the Hawkeye State since December, when she was in Sioux City to autograph copies of her autobiography “Going Rogue.” Hundreds of Iowans packed that event at Southern Hills Mall. [Editor's note: This paragraph was changed to locate the Southern Hills Mall in the correct city (and correct state).]
But Palin could face an uphill climb winning the 2012 Iowa Republican caucus, according to a poll by theiowarepublican.com published earlier this month. It showed Iowa Republicans ranked Palin fourth as a presidential candidate, with support from 11 percent of respondents. That put her behind former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
The survey, conducted July 25-28 with a margin of error of 4.39 percent, also showed Palin with very high unfavorable ratings among Iowa Republicans – the worst of the potential candidates in the survey. Some 37 percent of Iowans polled had a favorable view of Palin, while 57 percent had an unfavorable opinion. By contrast, Mr. Huckabee had a 48 percent favorable, 22 percent unfavorable rating.