Blue Texas in Obama v. Palin Matchup?
There is a debate raging up here in the Great Land. And it goes something like this:
Position A -
We do NOT want Palin as the GOP nominee. No way, no how. We’ve suffered through more Sarah Palin than anyone, and we’ve seen the super scary morphing from affable, anti-corruption “fresh face” bipartisan ethics champion to shrieking, self-serving, rabid Tea Party ideologue. And thanks, but no thanks. As improbable as it may seem that she’d actually win, look what has happened in the past in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. To use some violent political metaphor in honor of our ex-gov turned Presidential wannabe – Do we even want to put that bullet in the chamber?
Positioin B -
OK, yes, Alaska is traumatized but we don’t represent the big picture. There has been no greater Democratic fundraiser than Sarah Palin. Her downward spiral in the polls, and her steady and determined march to irrelevance at the hand of her own ineptitude and radical nature mean only one thing – she would lose to Obama and lose bad. If the Republicans elect someone who isn’t - let’s use “insane” for lack of a better term – like Tim Pawlenty, or Mitt Romney, then we’ve got a horse race. Put Palin out there and the far-left, the middle-left, the right-left, the left-right, the center-right and the not insane go stampeding to the polls to vote for a second Obama term.
And back and forth we go. Both sides have a point. Do you root for Palin, taking even a shred of risk that she becomes President, but a greater risk we end up with President Romney? Or do you say no way, any risk is too great and I’d rather take the chance that we end up with a sane Republican running the show than any risk of President Palin? And do registered Dems and Rs who don’t like Palin vote for her in the primary to sway the results hoping for the head-to-head matchup?
Today, Public Policy Polling came out with numbers that might make you grit your teeth, wipe the sweat off your brow, and tiptoe over to Camp B if you aren’t there already. Close your eyes, and imagine…. Blue Texas.
2012 could be the year Democrats are finally competitive for President in Texas…but only if the Republicans nominate Sarah Palin.
There are vast differences in how the various different potential GOP contenders fare against Barack Obama in Texas. Mike Huckabee is very popular in the state and would defeat Obama by 16 points, a more lopsided victory than John McCain had there in 2008. Mitt Romney is also pretty well liked and has a 7 point advantage over the President in an early hypothetical contest, a closer margin than the state had last time around but still a pretty healthy lead. A plurality of voters have an unfavorable opinion of Newt Gingrich but he would lead Obama by a 5 point margin nonetheless. It’s a whole different story with Palin though. A majority of Texas voters have an unfavorable opinion of her and she leads the President by just a single point in a hypothetical contest.
…The other reason for Obama’s closeness is the weakness of the Republican candidate field. He’d have no shot against a GOP nominee that voters in the state like. Huckabee’s favorability rating is a 51/30 spread and he blows Obama out of the water. But none of the other GOP hopefuls come close to matching that appeal. Romney’s favorability is narrowly in positive territory at 40/37, but Gingrich’s is negative at 38/44, and Palin’s is even worse at 42/53. Texas voters certainly don’t like Obama but for the most part they don’t see the current Republican front runners as particularly great alternatives.
Texas ought to stay safely in the GOP column for 2012 but with a weak nominee Obama would have a chance and these numbers are further confirmation that you’re probably talking about 400+ electoral votes for the President next year if his opponent is Sarah Palin.