Well, John Ensign of Nevada is out. Mark Sanford of South Carolina is out. But Sarah Palin of Alaska seems to be very much in. According to the local media up there, most of her fellow Alaskans are convinced that she won’t be running for re-election as governor, leaving her time to seek the big enchilada.
According to a new poll by the folks at Pew, Palin is easily the most popular potential candidate for president among Republican voters. (Admittedly, some candidates weren’t included, but I doubt that anybody else — Jindal? Huckabee? — would threaten the Palin numbers).
But something interesting happened when Pew broadened the range of those polled to include Democrats and independents.
Suddenly, Mitt Romney pops up the list, while Palin’s high negatives outside the party faithful become more prominent. In fact, while Palin’s numbers have stayed pretty steady, Romney’s have been slowly but steadily improving. As Pew notes, “In February 2008, just 29% of independents had a positive impression of Romney while 46% had a negative view. Today, that balance is reversed: 44% view Romney favorably and 25% unfavorably.”
If the economy is still struggling in another two years, Romney’s business and financial background could position him nicely, at least in the general. But the poll numbers suggest he may have a hard time breaking Palin’s grip on the party faithful.