Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Festering "Palingate" Scandal Has Little Effect On Governor Sarah Palin's Popularity; New Hays Research Poll Shows 80 Percent Approval Rating

The continuing political troubles of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, which I have dubbed "Palingate", seem to have had little effect on her popularity, according to a Hays Research Poll just released. This is also discussed on the Anchorage Daily News Alaska Politics blog.

The poll of 404 respondents, conducted during the period July 24-25, 2008, show that 80 percent of respondents hold a favorable opinion of Governor Palin. The poll was paid for by Hays Research, so no special interests were involved. Click HERE to view the entire results. I also do a direct comparison with the most recent previous Hays poll conducted on May 7th, 2008. Here is the breakdown:

Poll Question: Do you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable impression of Sarah Palin?

- Very favorable: 44.3 percent NOW vs. 49 percent on May 7th
- Somewhat favorable: 35.6 percent NOW vs. 37 percent on May 7th
- Total of all favorable: 80.0 percent NOW vs. 86 percent on May 7th

- Somewhat unfavorable: 10.9 percent NOW vs. 6 percent on May 7th
- Very unfavorable: 5.2 percent NOW vs. 3 percent on May 7th
- Total of all unfavorable: 16.1 percent NOW vs. 9 percent on May 7th

The remainder were the "I don't know/I don't care" set. A less recent Ivan Moore poll, not released publicly, showed Palin with a 76 percent favorable rating. Questions about some other political races were asked; here are the results:

- Respondents viewed Congressman Don Young 55 percent Unfavorable, 41 percent Favorable.
- In a prospective Ethan Berkowitz-Sean Parnell race, Berkowitz has a three-point lead over Parnell, but a whopping 37 percent are undecided.
- In the Republican U.S. House primary race, Parnell leads Young by three percentage points.

Conclusion: Despite the sharp and somewhat broad criticism of Governor Palin expressed via public comments to various media stories during the two-week "Palingate" saga, it appears that the resentment was shallow and wore off quickly. Alaskans still retain fundamental confidence in her ability to govern. She's only lost six percentage points in popularity, and the proportionality of support is still similar, with committed supporters continuing to outnumber casual supporters.

Why the support? Because Sarah Palin has integrated ethics so closely into her persona, most people believe her current troubles are sins of ignorance and incompetence rather than sins of malevolence and malfeasance, so upon reflection, they're inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt. In addition, the Palin family continue to personify traditional family values; she's brought five kids into the world, the latest being a child with Down's Syndrome, and she had the courage to bring the special child into the world rather than to callously have it aborted.

Governor Palin's real problem may be that her cabinet is infested with cheerleaders, who tell her only what she wants to hear rather than what she needs to hear. She needs a couple of devil's advocates to expose her to contrasting points of view and broaden her political horizons. At times, Governor Palin acts more like a ditzy soccer mom rather than a governor, and it will hinder her credibility in the long run.

And Governor Palin's problems are far from over. While Charles Kopp generously fell on his sword for her, she still needs a permanent Commissioner of Public Safety. And the state legislature is proceeding with plans to launch an inquiry into her administration's conduct.

And Andrew Halcro continues to expose additional issues on his blog, questioning Governor Palin's use of executive privilege HERE, examining whether or not Palin's communication director Bill McAllister had put a pro-Palin spin on his reportage while still working for KTUU, and more about the confidential e-mail log of the Palin Administration.


  1. Not only does this story not hurt Palin, the whole thing will boomerang in the public mind to make her look not only better, stronger and tougher, but with sympathetic (being under attack) feelings to her side!

  2. Even if this proves to be the case, she has blown any chance to be McCain's running mate. The Obamaholics would jump all over her, and you know by now that most of the mainstream media look upon Obama as a savior, glossing over his legion of faults.

    Not the least of which is the fact that Obama himself is an empty suit.