A new Gallup poll finds that 70 percent of Americans say that Sarah Palin’s decision to resign as governor of Alaska has no effect on their opinion of her. At the same time, 17 percent view her less favorably as a result of the move, and 9 percent view her more favorably. Meanwhile, Palin continues to be polarizing, with 43 percent saying they would be very or somewhat likely to vote for her as president and 54 percent saying they would be “not too likely” or “not at all likely” to vote for her. But the media gets overwhelmingly bad reviews, with 53 percent of Americans saying that coverage of Palin has been “unfairly negative” while only 9 percent say it’s “unfairly positive” and 28 percent say it’s “about right.”
Palin’s abrupt resignation with 18 months left in her first term as governor has probably raised more questions than answers about her political future. But the move has apparently not affected Americans’ basic opinions of her to a large degree. As political observers eagerly await her next career move, roughly 19% of U.S. voters say they would be very likely to vote for her should she run for president in 2012, and another 24% say they would be somewhat likely to do so. While still the minority of all voters, it is perhaps not a bad start for an election still three years away, and arguably could put Palin in a better starting position than some of the lesser-known GOP candidates who may also seek the party’s presidential nomination.
What the poll does not measure, however, is the opportunity cost of Palin’s decision. While most Americans’ opinions of Palin were largely unmoved by the act of quitting itself, the fact that she is leaving office after two and a half years makes will make it harder to convince skeptics who believe she does not have the necessary experience to be president.
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