Is Palin really getting less popular?

The Washington Post says she is, but their own polling numbers say her base is sticking with her

By Alex Koppelman
July 24, 2009 6:25PM (UTC)
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Sunday marks Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's last day in office, so to lead off Friday morning, the Washington Post has a story headlined "Palin's Favorability Rating Drops as She Prepares to Leave Office, Poll Finds."

The story is about the results of a Washington Post-ABC News poll, and it makes a pretty big deal of the drop. And so far, everyone else who's written about the poll has bought the Post's spin.


But here's the thing: The Post's own numbers show her favorability rating has barely changed at all since last fall. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points, and it shows the percentage of respondents who say they have a favorable impression of her dropping six points since late October -- that is, within the margin. Her unfavorable rating is up only two points, from 51 percent to 53 percent. Again, that's within the margin of error.

What those results show, really, is how resilient Palin is, at least when it comes to her poll numbers, and how resistant those numbers are to change. Simply put, she has a base, and they're not going to be swayed, so her favorable numbers aren't likely to ever dip much further than they already have. Her appeal isn't about her ability or her accomplishments -- it's about her. Meanwhile, there are a lot of people who don't like her, and they're not going to be swayed either.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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