Palin for president? She already has a base, poll shows

Palin 2012?

If the soon-to-be ex-governor of Alaska wants to throw her waders in the ring for a presidential run, she would be starting with a decent base of support.

The latest USA Today/Gallup poll – taken three days after Sarah Palin announced she was quitting the governorship 18 months early – shows 19 percent of US voters “very likely” to vote for her for president and another 24 percent “somewhat likely.”

In 2005, when Gallup asked voters to assess then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s chances for president, 28 percent were “very likely” to vote for her, and 24 percent “somewhat likely.”

Governor Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president last November, has left her supporters guessing as to whether she’ll actually run. But if she does, she would have her work cut out for her. A total of 41 percent of voters say they are “not at all likely” to support her, and 13 percent are “not too likely.”

Most voters – 70 percent – said her resignation announcement last Friday had no effect on how they feel about her. Nine percent view her more favorably, and 17 percent less favorably.

Palin remains as polarizing as ever. Most Republicans (72 percent) say they would be likely to vote for her, and most Democrats (70 percent) say they would not. But with independents, a critical battleground for votes, the news is not good for Palin: In all, 53 percent are either “not too likely” or “not at all likely” to support her, while 44 percent are either “very likely” or “somewhat likely.”

According to USA Today, Democrats view Palin less favorably by 4-1, post-announcement, as do independents by 2-1. Republicans, on balance, see her more favorably.

If nothing else, the latest twist in the Palin saga – and her enduring popularity – will give added life to media fascination with her. Over the weekend, reporters from major news outlets hightailed it to Alaska, where Palin, dressed in waders, obliged with interviews.

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