Wednesday, April 27, 2011

High Negatives Imperil Palin, Trump

A new Gallup poll sheds light on the challenges faced by Palin and Trump in establishing perceived electability.

According to Gallup's poll of all Americans (i.e. not limited to Republican primary voters), 64% say they will "definitely not vote for" Trump. For Palin it was 65%. Gallup also asked about Huckabee, Romney, and Obama. Each of those received about 45% in the "definitely not vote for" category.

This establishes a clear divide between groups of candidates who may be considered "electable" and those who cannot. Elephant Watcher has given both Palin and Trump a low perceived electability rating.

Possessing low perceived electability is a serious handicap in a primary fight. Republicans may agree with Palin's views, for instance, but are less likely to vote for her in the primary if they think she can't win the general election. Among Republicans, 46% said they would "definitely not vote for" Trump. Beyond Trump's electability issues, this number also reflects the fact that more Republicans are aware of Trump's less-than-conservative political history.

37% of Republicans said they would "definitely not vote for" Palin. For Romney, the number was 26%; for Huckabee it was 22%.

Trump's number is particularly enlightening. Nearly half of Republicans say they are certain not to vote for him--about double the number who say the same about Huckabee. Trump has a following, but he's also starting out with a lot more opposition than other candidates. He has less room to carve out a constituency. Elephant Watcher currently gives Trump only a 1% chance of winning the nomination.