According to an MSNBC article, Sarah Palin’s "favorability" is dropping a bit as she prepares to leave her position as governor of Alaska. A Washington Post-ABC poll showed that 53% of Americans view her negatively, while only 40% see her in a positive light, which is her lowest positive rating since she was first chosen to be John McCain’s running mate (and became a subject of polls such as this).
Not surprisingly, Republicans still hold her in high regard… as many as 70% view her favorably and rank her among the top three contenders for a presidential candidacy in 2012. White evangelical protestants are her most avid supporters, but even their view of her hasn’t remained untarnished.
Here’s a quote from the article summarizing the poll (emphasis mine).
As Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin prepares for the next stage of her political career, a majority of Americans hold an unfavorable view of her, and there is broad public doubt about her leadership skills and understanding of complex issues [...]
I had to pause when reading that because, as usual, I’m constantly amazed that anyone ever thought she did have an understanding of complex issues… or that they thought she did have leadership skills suitable for a vice presidency.
In the 2008 election, I had been wavering between Obama and McCain. I was leaning toward McCain because he seemed like he was going to maintain fiscal conservatism without going all theological on the country the way Bush had done. I was leaning away from Obama because of typical "Democrat" things like union support, crazy spending, and bigger government.
Then McCain picked Palin (or was directed to pick her… I don’t know) and after I learned about her and heard her speak, my decision was made. Palin was not (and still is not) vice presidential material, much less presidential material, and she repeatedly showed it every time she took the microphone or granted an interview. The media wasn’t hard on her. They tossed softballs. Katie Couric wasn’t even hard on her, but Palin came across looking like a uneducated bible thumper in nice clothes. She couldn’t answer simple questions. She got defensive when Couric pressed her for an answer to a reasonable question about what news sources she reads. She conveyed what I consider to be some reprehensible moral positions.
I was disappointed because, even though I had (mostly) liked McCain, I couldn’t support him as president after making a choice like Palin for his vice president. So I was stuck with Obama, who I admired for some things, but who didn’t quite represent what I wanted. I liked (and still do) his international stance, his speaking ability, his education, some of his ideas… but I didn’t like some fiscal positions and union support.
Palin was a deal-breaker because she was clearly unqualified on multiple fronts… yet Republicans and evangelicals just loved her to death. Maybe it’s just a religious thing… a carryover from Bush’s eight years of mobilizing and empowering the religious right to commandeer the Republican party. Maybe it all has to do with Palin making claims of God-inspired wars and praying that the country is following God’s plan. Maybe they liked her because, not only was she overtly religious, invoking God and faith on a regular basis, but she also winked at them and said, "You betcha!"
It certainly can’t be her professional qualifications.