Does Sarah Palin Have a Shot in 2012?

Her chances in the GOP primary and, hold your breath, the general election

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It's no secret that Sarah Palin would love to take another shot at the White House, and her recent boast that she could defeat Obama in the 2012 presidential election has set off even more speculation that usual about her chances. Palin is enormously popular and visible, but her national approval and disapproval ratings stand at 29 and 51 percent. Here's what people have to say about her odds in the Republican primary and, hold your breath, the general election.

  • Sure. She's Defied Conventional Wisdom Before  The New York Times' Frank Rich writes, "Logic doesn’t apply to Palin. What might bring down other politicians only seems to make her stronger: the malapropisms and gaffes, the cut-and-run half-term governorship, family scandals, shameless lying and rapacious self-merchandising. In an angry time when America’s experts and elites all seem to have failed, her amateurism and liabilities are badges of honor. She has turned fallibility into a formula for success. Republican leaders who want to stop her, and they are legion, are utterly baffled about how to do so."
  • Unlikely to Survive GOP Primary  The New Republic's Jonathan Bernstein writes, "Many conservatives are enthusiastic about Sarah Palin in the context of Palin vs. Obama. But in 2011 and 2012, if she's actively campaigning, she won't be running against Obama; she'll be running against Romney, Pawlenty, and other conservatives. Yes, some of those other candidates aren't exactly household names, or able to elicit the kind of enthusiasm among conservatives that Palin has now--but give them some positive buzz from Rush and Hannity and the rest, and that can be created real fast."
  • Would Palin Avoid Primary if She Becomes 'a Distraction'?  The Right Scoop looks at a recent Palin interview with Hannity, surmising that Palin suggests she would avoid the Republican primary if Republicans by and large seem to think she is a distraction. Palin said, "If they start attacking my potential candidacy and trying to erode a base of support and discredit and invalidate me and my record and my policies, then I will know that I would probably do more harm that good to the cause."
  • Palin's 'Road Map' For Campaign Against Obama  The New York Times' Michael Shear gets a copy of Palin's new book, calling it a "road map to the kinds of political attacks that Ms. Palin would most likely use against President Obama should she decide to run for the Republican nomination in 2012." She mentions Obama 44 times, "Obamacare" 8 times. The biggest attack seems to be, as Shear puts it, "Ms. Palin repeatedly questions Mr. Obama’s love of country."
  • Palin Run Could Be Boon For Obama  Politics blogger Brendan Nyhan muses, "What makes the 2012 campaign especially hard to predict is that Sarah Palin has a significant chance to be the GOP nominee (currently estimated at 20.9% on Intrade) despite having what seem to be unprecedented negatives for a serious presidential candidate at this point in the election cycle. ... Obama should lose if the economy is bad, but we don't have a good precedent for a presidential nominee who enters the primary campaign with an unfavorable rating of 52%. It's possible that Palin would significantly underperform the forecast, giving Obama a chance in circumstances where he might otherwise face near-certain defeat."
  • Popular Not the Same as Electable  The Washington Post's Alexandra Petri writes, "So far, she's gotten a 5 million-strong audience, a rally full of people on the Mall, a book that everyone's buzzing about, and more Twitter followers than you can shake a stick at ... She actually seems to be hunting for campaign real estate in Iowa. Palin 2012? It's happening! ... We certainly Google her a lot -- not that this is an indication of thought -- six times more than any of the other potential Republican 2012 candidates combined! ... Then again, we Google Justin Bieber more, and that doesn't mean we will vote for him."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.