Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sarah Palin, Republican presidential frontrunner

Eric Christopher Adams | May 17, 2011

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Sarah Palin has so far been mum as to whether she'll join the Republican field contesting President Barack Obama in the 2012 election, but with the dispatch of two other big names this week, she's established as a top-tier possibility, according to the polling firm Gallup.

This weekend, 2008 presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee announced that he would not challenge Obama next year. Yesterday, media and real estate mogul Donald Trump fired himself from the prospective POTUS field, although he added that if he did run, he would beat everyone in the world, of course.

The Gallup polling, conducted over the first two weeks of May, hopes to pinpoint the support that potential Republican candidates enjoy as the presidential fundraising season gets underway. Poll respondents who had thrown in behind Trump and Huckabee were "reallocated," presumably to second or alternative choices among the declared or presumptive candidates with high name recognition among Republicans.

Huckabee was the tentative front-runner heading into this weekend, a Gallup story said. With him out of the picture, Gallup concluded "there is no clear front-runner in the race."

Popular blogger Andrew Sullivan wondered why Alaska's former governor had faded from much of the media's focus on the 2012 GOP race. "Even if she's unlikely to run," Sullivan said, "she should surely be mentioned as often as, say, Trump or Bachmann, let alone (former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick) Santorum."

Here's what Gallup had to say:

Palin, who has given no indication of whether she will run for the nomination, has very high name identification, is near the top of Republicans' nomination preferences, and has a higher 'Positive Intensity Score' than any other well-known candidate. Palin thus must be considered one of the GOP leaders at this point. Romney and Gingrich are also well-known. Of the two, Romney is slightly better positioned at this point due to his higher ranking in Gallup's trial heats.

Romney himself, who some have speculated is intentionally keeping a low profile in the early months of the nomination battle, in February said he thought Palin would be a "great" president.

A quote attributed to Romney by the New York Daily News:

I believe she is an extraordinarily powerful and effective voice in our party, that she has generated a great deal of support and attention, that she'd be great in a primary process," he said of the former vice-presidential nominee and Tea Party darling. "She'd bring attention to the process, and frankly, the more people we have on the stage in those debates talking about different ideas and different approaches, the better.

Romney in recent days has raised a lot of cash. Monday, the former Massachusetts governor gathered about 800 volunteers in the Las Vegas Convention Center to hold a Jerry Lewis-style telethon for his campaign. The final tally: $10 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Sarah Palin, according to Iowa Republican operatives and the Wall Street Journal, has one lonely (yet effective) ground troop in the Hawkeye State.

"When it comes to Palin in Iowa," state tea party director Ryan Rhodes told the Journal, "it's pretty much Peter Singleton. The guy is everywhere."

The question is: Will she show up for the Iowa State Fair this summer?

Contact Eric Christopher Adams at eric(at)

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