Powerline's Paul Mirengoff makes the case that the 2012 Republican nomination is Sarah Palin's to lose given her popularity among the Tea Party movement. But I think it's important to draw a distinction between Palin receiving a hero's welcome at Tea Party events, or even showing tremendous influence in GOP primaries, and people choosing her as a presidential nominee. Back in April, a NY Times/CBS poll of Tea Partiers found that 66 percent viewed Palin favorably, yet a plurality of 47 percent to 40 percent said she didn't have the ability to be an effective president. Some conservatives may dismiss any NY Times poll, but it is telling that respondents viewed general favorability and presidential qualifications as two separate questions. So I think that we should be careful not to conflate the two and assume that Palin has the Tea Party vote locked up in a presidential race.
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