Prediction: Palin will be the 2012 GOP nominee

Monday, December 28, 2009
By Frank Lockwood

Research 2000 is predicting that Sarah Palin will be the Republican Party’s standard-bearer in 2012.

In fact, Palin’s support among cultural conservatives is “etched firmly in stone” two years before the first primary.

After you’ve finished laughing at that absurd claim, take a look at Research 2000’s analysis and see if you spot any flaws.

Here are the problems I see:

Research 2000 predicts that 90 percent of cultural conservatives will back Sarah Palin. Research 2000 is a polling company, but there’s no polling to back up this 90 percent claim. And there won’t be. Cultural conservatives in general and Christian conservatives in particular are not monolithic. It’s hard to imagine Palin or any other Republican capturing 90 percent of their vote in a contested Republican primary.

Research 2000 says that frontrunners in the GOP “historically win the nomination.” That would point to a 2012 victory for Sarah Palin — if Sarah Palin were the clear frontrunner. But there is no clear frontrunner in 2009 for the 2012 nomination. Some polls show Mike Huckabee ahead. All of them show Mitt Romney performing well. Nobody has cleared 30 percent in the polls. This is a wide-open race.

Research 2000 also misses the reason why frontrunners have done so well in Republican primaries. In part, the GOP likes to give its nominations to time-tested politicians who have paid their dues, who have worked their way up the ladder, etc. Reagan served two terms as governor of California (and ran twice, unsuccessfully, for president before getting the nod). Bush Sr. had been a congressman, RNC chairman, ambassador to China, vice president and unsuccessful presidential candidate. Dole had been a senator for decades. Bush Jr., the candidate with the shortest resume on this list, had been a governor for two terms. McCain had been a senator for two decades and an unsuccessful presidential candidate in 2000.

Palin served less than a term as governor — and then quit. But there are ways, other than holding office, for a Republican to pay her dues. She could stump nonstop for Republican candidates in 2010 and work tirelessly to raise funds for fellow Republicans. This sort of teamwork would no doubt strengthen her chances in 2009 — unless she made some horrific verbal gaffes along the way.

As John McCain’s former running mate, Sarah Palin would enter the race as a first-tier candidate. But that doesn’t guarantee that she’ll stay there. She could be another Bob Dole, rising to fight another day. Or she could be another Dan Quayle.

No Responses to “Prediction: Palin will be the 2012 GOP nominee”

  1. cheese

    If that prediction holds true, I’m predicting another term for Obama.

  2. Yes, any time you see a number like “90%” with a zero at the end the implied error is at least 5%. In this case, with nothing to back up that number, the error’s probably a lot higher.

    I read Going Rogue over the break; Governor Palin doesn’t discuss 2012, and at the end of the book she suggests she had to get out of the Governor’s mansion for the sake of the state of Alaska, because the burden on the state bureaucracy from FOIA requests and spurious lawsuits was so large and because of her own personal legal bills (some half-million dollars, of which she inherited fifty thousand from the McCain camp). That, evidently, being part of the justification for taking an advance against Going Rogue itself.

    The book, with its folksy tone, it’s endless hammering on values issues, and repetition of her bona fides as an outsider, definitely suggests that she’s done with national politics. She doesn’t have the personality or the stomach for it. There would have to be a “Draft Sarah” movement before she’d embark on another 2008-style campaign again.

    Also, she said so many nasty things about professional political operatives in the book it’s hard to imagine who would be her Lee Atwater.

  3. Caleb Powers

    I never thought anyone would make Dan Quayle look good, but Sarah! has done it.

  4. José

    Over on fivethirtyeight dot com there’s some good, serious, and in depth analysis of Palin’s chances in 2012:

    In late 1991 Newsweek had a cover article about President George H. W. Bush who was enjoying a 90% approval rating. Gov. Bill Clinton was practically unknown outside of Arkansas. In 12 short months that was turned upside down. We are more than two years away from the first primary for the 2012 nominations. It is absurd to think that predictions this far in advance can be accurate.

  5. KC

    I didn’t vote republican in 2009 and I won’t in ’12 if she runs.

  6. the taxpayer

    Hey religious boy. take your blog and shove it. The bible belt is in fact the ignorant belt due to religion stamping out real knowledge. May satan eat your soul.

  7. radelster

    If this is the best the Republican Party can do, we deserve another 4 years of Obama.

    Third party is the ONLY way to go.

  8. Niall

    But Jose, Clinton was a consummate politician with an extensive network of support among party players. Neither is true of Palin. A Palin candidacy will be much more like that of Ross Perot. He initially got a lot of populist momentum going, but the minute people actually started listening to his paranoid rantings, that was it.

  9. Caleb Powers

    I’d take Ross Perot over Sarah Palin. Of course, I’d also take my cat over her . . .

    The difference between Sarah Palin and Bill Clinton is that Bill Clinton has an amazing rapport with the public — which Palin does not.

  10. lifecoaches

    This choice needs lessons on honesty. She also could use lessons on how to finish a job and the reasons that you should. Sarah needs to understand that the policies of the conservatives is one that is totally unrealistic for our times. She is just about the biggest bad joke on America that there is.
    The President is bashed at every opportunity; the democrats are bashed at every opportunity. It is like a group of scavengers on a perverted mission. I remember only eight years ago, that we were almost in a total collapse of our finances. I am bright enough to understand the scope of those idiot inspired policies that almost ruined our nation. There has been a horrendous amount of problems handed to this congress and administration, so I am not enough of a moron to expect them to be fixed in less than a year. I hear that Americans are starting to blame the current administration for our problems, which is a direct correlation of mis-information and propaganda issued by the health insurance industry and the .org groups paid for and supported by -health insurance companies, petroleum industry, PHARMA, far right entities and moguls-. The willingness of the moderates, liberals, centrists, humanitarians, gays, women(with the capabilities of independent thinking) and minorities to fight for this current administration and congress is great and determined. We will never abandon our tremendous and extremely important views on the issues of today. We will fight with all the tenacity that it takes to win these battles. We understand the brawl mentality that we are up against and will not waiver an inch in this battle. The mandate of ’08 is stronger now than ever before, we, without question, understand the importance of the mid-term elections. This battle is between big business and the American people not, between the American people and government.

  11. lifecoaches

    Mrs. Palin is witty, pretty, and a woman that has accomplished a great deal. The only reason that she and her supporters are getting the exposure that they are experiencing is that the media is making fun of them. The media is laughing at the entire group because of Palin’s inability to expound on any question asked, past a remedial point.

  12. Richard Weaver

    We could do a lot worse than Sarah Palin…wait, we just did!

  13. UKLutheran

    an amazing rapport with the public….

    And a deep understanding of virtually every major domestic and international policy issue…

    Bill Clinton might be able to chum it up with people like no other, but what really makes him different from Palin is that Clinton can speak, intelligently and coherently, about policy for hours… Palin has yet to do this for minutes!

  14. Man, Sarah as a presidential candidate. Now that would be funny. She’d last about 3 months. This is so rich…. to think that the Republicans would actually put her on the ballot just proves that the party has been hijacked by those that it used to exploit.

  15. Niall

    UKLutheran –

    Correct. The other thing to take into account is that sometimes the electorate is interested in policy, and sometimes it’s not. We are now living in a time when the electorate is vitally interested in policy as such, which means Palin is going to have to be able make sense and an impact in the wide ranging discussions about health care, economic development, immigration, etc. going on now. Because of this, she is at a huge disadvantage. She should be praying for the electorate of 2000, not the electorate of 2012.

  16. David Duke

    As a dyed-in-the-wool conservative I say…..Please noooooo! If we (GOP) can’t get a better candidate than Sarah Palin, we might as well hand over the election now. Of course, we had a better candidate than McCain in the last election, one who actually understood how this economy works, but obviously his religious views were too much for some to handle….


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