First, there are several factors that cannot possibly be why Palin has surged.
1. Because Barack Obama is more beatable. The same poll shows that only Rudy Guiliani beats Obama, with Romney in a virtual tie. Palin is five points back and nobody else is even close after that. All of this, after Obama has resided over three years of constantly high unemployment and an unpopular health initiative. Sarah Palin has surged in the polls despite the fact that the American people still tend to prefer Obama over the Republican Party choices.
2. Because she is more popular with the Republican base. Not so. Republican base voters actually overwhelmingly prefer her to stay out of the race by a ratio of 72 to 24! Sorry, Rush Limbaugh, but Republican base voters do not decide general elections. So we can say that Sarah Palin has risen in general election despite the fact that Obama is still a tough opponent and despite the fact that most Republicans don't want her to run.
So, could it be that maybe Palin has changed the minds of some of non-Tea Party aligned voters? Possibly. Here are a couple of more points to think about, though.
1. This is one poll. Let's see a trend first before we make concrete conclusions.
2. Palin has been out of the limelight, while Perry and Bachmann have been the center of attention. This is the strategy that Palin should have pursued all along. Instead, she opted to sell books and give six-figure speeches. That's great if you want to make money, but not if you want to be President. Overexposure is a killer in national politics and Palin's numbers will only improve the longer general elections voters become focused on the stupidity of Perry and Bachmann and less on Palin's old habit of whining about the media. General election voters want a grown up for President and if Palin can contrast herself with Bachmann and Perry, she might have a shot.
3. She might have a shot, but it is probably too late. It is going to be difficult for Palin to enter the race at this stage and to be taken seriously. She will need to raise a lot of cash and a lot of establishment support in a very short time. And she will also be scrutinized again which will cause her numbers to go down some.
4. If Sarah Palin runs, she needs to run with the center of the country in mind. She will not win by following the formula of Perry and Bachmann. She will only be taken seriously if Republican voters think she has a chance of beating Obama. If she reverts back to her old ways, her general elections numbers will spiral downward. Nobody doubts Palin's conservative bona fides. She can afford to speak to centrist voters without taking too much of a hit from the right.
5. More than likely, Palin's entrance in the race would greatly help Romney's chances of winning the nomination. Which is why Romney just recently stated that he hopes that Palin runs.
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