Was Palin Posed To Emulate Obama's Rise?

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That's the thought of Pollster.com's Mark Blumenthal, who writes that Gov. Sarah Palin's base "was big and in many ways comparable to where Obama started."  Thus, as of last week at least, she was the Republican best positioned to emulate Obama's tactical model for seeking the nomination.    Blumenthal's point is that Palin, though having the highest negatives among adults among all potential 2012 candidates, had by far the best positive ratings among Republican activists, eclipsing by more than 20 points the favorability number attached to the second-place Mitt Romney. Extrapolating a bit, we can posit that Palin starts the race -- or would have started the race -- with a hard corps of true believers, perhaps even larger than Romney's -- and had the most room to grow, at the same time. Blumenthal writes: "The Pew numbers show that Palin's base as of June 2009 was as strong as Obama's on the eve of the 2008 campaign. Consider two numbers: Palin's "very favorable" rating last month on the Pew Research survey among all adults was 15%. Obama's very favorable score among all adults on a Pew Research survey in August 2007 was 14%."

And then, of course, the similarities end. Put aside your views about their inherent personal charisteristics: Obama's campaign attracted the Democratic base because of his identity and because of his stand against the Iraq war, but Obama's message was consistently forward-looking and targeted to independents who were watching the Democratic primaries. Obama did not have to face the conviction that he was not qualified -- something more than half of all Americans believe about Sarah Palin. Indeed, Obama ran for Senate and stayed in the Senate precisely because he knew he needed more experience; he did not resign from office at the point when people were questioning his experience.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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