Sarah Palin's Campaigning Efforts More Polarizing Than Obama's

Sarah Palin's Campaigning Efforts More Polarizing Than Obama's

A recent poll conducted by Washington Post/ABC News showing just how polarizing Sarah Palin's campaigning efforts could sprinkle a little rain on the parade she might be having after her candidates' recent primary successes.

The survey shows the true volatility of a Sarah Palin endorsement, with 36 percent of respondents, including many who categorized themselves as "somewhat conservative," saying that they'd be more likely to oppose a candidate for Congress in their district if the former Alaska Governor were to campaign for them. The strong opposition marks a full nine points higher than President Obama, whose planned campaigning efforts for some Democrats has already been a point of contention within the party.

On the flip side, however, 20 percent of those surveyed said they'd be more likely to support a Congressional candidate running with the campaign help of Palin, while only 17 percent said the same of President Obama.

This puts Sarah Palin in a particularly tough spot. Due to the historically lower turnout of primaries, the contests are often prone to being affected by blocs of organized voters whose sway would traditionally count for less in a larger election. This means that Palin's power as an endorser and campaigner has likely been more effective in races where her involvement has been able to catalyze groups of conservative activists who have voted for insurgent candidates such as Delaware's Christine O'Donnell. Assuming that more people come out to vote in November, her influence will be much more seriously tested against a larger assortment of voters who may tend to see her in a negative light.

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza adeptly sums up the findings:

What those numbers suggest is what smart political observers have long suspected: Palin's support is deep but not terribly wide. Palin herself seemed to acknowledge that fact in an interview with Fox News Channel on Wednesday. Asked whether she would be campaigning for O'Donnell in Democratic-friendly Delaware in the fall, Palin replied: "I'll do whatever I can. I want to help, though, and not hurt. And, you know, sometimes it's a double edged sword there if my name is connected to anybody."

This, Cillizza says, may mean that "she may be out on the campaign trail less this fall for Republicans than she was during primary season."

On top of all this, a separate CBS News poll released Wednesday shows that only 21 percent of respondents have a favorable opinion of Palin. Most of her support came from Republicans in that poll, but even among the conservative respondents she still only tallied a 50 percent approval.

As for how that carries over the her clout as an endorser, the poll showed that twelve percent of those surved said that Palin's support would make them more likely to vote for a candidate. Thirty-seven percent said it would make them less likely to do so, while 48 percent said it would make no difference.

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