Sarah Palin is the face of the GOP, Democrats say with a smile

Two top Democratic strategists who spoke at Wednesday’s Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters said Sarah Palin is the GOP poster girl – and that is good for Democrats.

Sarah Palin speaks at a 'tea party' rally in Searchlight, Nev., on March 27. Some Democrats argue that she is now the face of the GOP.

Sarah Palin has taken on a central role in voters’ perceptions of the Republican Party, and two top Democratic strategists who spoke at Wednesday’s Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters could not be happier.

“Look at this dynamic that is produced with Sarah Palin,” said Stanley Greenberg, chairman of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. “You have John McCain having to have Sarah Palin to save him [in a primary election race]…”

In the aftermath of the passage of healthcare reform, the ongoing discussion is “Barack Obama against Sarah Palin on healthcare,” he said.

Mr. Greenberg, who served as President Clinton’s pollster, argued that “The face of the Republican Party to the country is not the 'tea party,' it is Sarah Palin.”

James Carville, President Clinton’s campaign manager and the other speaker at Wednesday’s breakfast, suggested a test to the assembled journalists. “Do me favor. Call five Democratic consultants and leave a message and say I am doing a story on Sarah Palin and call five Republicans, and see who returns the phone call. I think we all know the answer to that. The Democrats will be on the phone so fast.”

A Washington Post poll released earlier in March underscored the risk for Republicans in Ms. Palin’s high profile. One example of her continuing prominence is her recently announced “Take Back the 20” effort to oust a score of Democratic members of Congress from around the country.

The Post poll found that while Palin enjoys the support of 71 percent of conservative Republicans, she is much less popular among the independent voters who often decide elections. Some 55 percent of independents hold an unfavorable view of Palin, the Post poll found.

That unfavorable figure is mild in comparison with Palin’s 85 percent negative rating among liberal Democrats.

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