As most of you will remember, I have been an ardent supporter of Sarah Palin’s notion of “sudden and relentless reform.” Like many who believe that’s what our republic needs, I was disappointed when she announced that she would not seek the GOP nomination for President. She said that she doesn’t need a title to help drive the sort of reforms and restoration the country needs. Nevertheless, one of the things that has come along is a new HotAir Poll that shows that at least some Republicans think otherwise, because Governor Palin is still very influential. Perhaps most stunning of all, when respondents were given a choice between the current front-runners and Sarah Palin, in a three-way race, Sarah Palin won. I am not surprised.
While I admit that HotAir’s poll is not all that scientific, I think it’s noteworthy because it shows a couple of things. Before considering them, let’s take a look at the results in both two-way and three-way races they presented in their poll:
That’s simply stunning. What this implies about the electorate is pretty clear: Left with the current front-runner as their choices, at present, Palin supporters seem to shift nearly six to one in favor of Gingrich when the field is reduced to just two. It also suggests quite plainly that given an option to vote for Sarah Palin as opposed to either of these two, more GOP voters would jump at the chance. It’s for this reason that when media tells us “the field is settled” that I wonder about the credibility of that claim. After all, it seems to me that among the electorate, it’s not such a settled question as some have thought. It also offers us a little insight into the supporters of Palin, and where they may head with their votes if Gingrich and Romney become the only choices.
The message here is that Sarah Palin is still very powerful as a force within Republican ranks, and her endorsement may be more valuable than the former Alaska Governor might be inclined to believe. It also indicates that Sarah Palin’s general positions are likely more favorable to a wider segment of Republicans than either of the current “front-runners.” It was my thesis early on in this campaign season that Sarah Palin is the real front-runner. On the basis of this poll, I stand by that determination even if she’s not running, in fact. The favor upon with which she is generally looked by Republican voters is much more thorough than some may have noticed, but it also says something about where the conservative base of the GOP really is, with respect to their opinions on various issues. The reason Sarah Palin has always been out front is primarily because voters identify with her positions, and her general outlook on the country and the necessities of reform.
Since she’s not running, this may lead some to wish for her to reconsider, as such “draft” movements have been persistent since she made her announcement on October 5th. What I think this really tells us is just how unifying the right candidate could be for the GOP under the right circumstances. We have learned recently that polling showed most of Herman Cain’s support would likely turn to Gingrich if Cain withdrew, and now that he has, I expect that will probably occur, but this also should transmit a thorough warning to Newt Gingrich: “You’re still only a second (or third)choice.” That should highlight something very important that the Gingrich camp simply cannot afford to ignore about the volatility of conservative voters who have begun to feel for months that they might be forced into a choice among the lesser of evils. Gingrich should take no comfort in finding that Republican primary voters may see him as a slightly lesser evil than Willard “Mitt” Romney.
The message to the GOP candidates couldn’t be clearer: Think about what Sarah Palin has represented and why she appealed to the Tea Party and conservatives, and then figure out how you can earnestly and sincerely implement the reforms she has advocated. Show Republican voters how you will beat Obama and reverse Obamacare as two first stops along the way to restoring the country, and you might find yourself the winner, not only in the primaries, but at the polls that really count, next November.
She may not be running, but don’t let the media fool you: Sarah Palin is a vital player of this race, candidate, or not.