Could Sarah Palin Be An Effective President?

 

This past weekend, Vanity Fair released the 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll that finds that a third of adults polled nationwide believe in ghosts, 46% think taxing tanning at a salon is a bad idea, and 76% are just as likely to see Mel Gibson’s movies now as they were before he became known for his racist rants. All in all, the poll asks pretty worthless questions. But one question’s results are garnering a bit of attention throughout the blogosphere. The question:

Do you think SARAH PALIN would have the ability to be an EFFECTIVE PRESIDENT?

All adults: No = 59%; Yes = 26%; spread of -33%

Republicans: No = 40%; Yes = 47%; spread of +7%

Democrats: No = 75%; Yes = 12%; spread of -63%

Independents: No = 63%; Yes = 21%; spread of -42%

Liberals: No = 80%; Yes = 15%; Spread of -65%

Moderates: No = 70%; Yes = 19%; Spread of -49%

Conservatives: No = 40%; Yes = 41%; Spread of +1%

I tend to agree with William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection on this one:

These Vanity Fair polls are a joke; there are few choices given to the interviewees, there is no depth of questioning, and they mix pop culture questions in with political questions.

But I’m also curious about the discrepancy between Republicans and Conservatives. As Christian Heinze over at GOP12 asks:

Why would conservatives be more likely than Republicans, at large, to doubt Palin’s executive abilities?

There are 20 comments.

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  1. Profile Photo Podcaster
    @EJHill

    Opinion polls: getting the answer you want.

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Member
    @AaronMiller

    I’m also surprised that Independents and Moderates are so heavily against her. Isn’t she a Tea Party favorite?

    The pollsters were probably protecting themselves against the possibility that Palin would be popular by suggesting, “Yeah, a lot of people believe in ghosts, too.”

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Contributor
    @PatSajak

    The speed with which a public figure can be caricatured is breathtaking. It takes a special kind of person to fight back and overcome the effort. No one succeeded more spectacularly than Ronald Reagan. The jury is still out on Palin’s ability to do the same.

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Contributor
    @DianeEllis

    EJHill: Opinion polls: getting the answer you want. · Aug 31 at 10:38

    Ha! Excellent clip. I hear that Yes Minister is a great show and have been meaning to get my hands on a season of it. I take it you’re a fan?

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Podcaster
    @EJHill
    Diane Ellis, Ed. Ha! Excellent clip. I hear that Yes Minister is a great show and have been meaning to get my hands on a season of it. I take it you’re a fan? · Aug 31 at 10:50am

    It was Margaret Thatcher’s favorite and the two writers Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn were often accused of having bugged both Whitehall and Number 10. It is a primer on bureaucratic ways and how government becomes self-absorbed with its own growth and survival.

    One of the writers is still firmly in the camp of the Liberals while the other has migrated to the Tories. They recently reunited to move Yes, Prime Minister to the London stage. Both series are available on DVD.

    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Contributor
    @JamesPoulos
    Pat Sajak: The speed with which a public figure can be caricatured is breathtaking. It takes a special kind of person to fight back and overcome the effort. No one succeeded more spectacularly than Ronald Reagan. The jury is still out on Palin’s ability to do the same. · Aug 31 at 10:44am

    Quite right, Pat — meaning, I think, that this poll elevates itself to the pinnacle of meaninglessness by failing to ask those who think Palin would be effective whether this is exactly what they’re afraid of.

    • #6
  7. Profile Photo Editor
    @RobLong

    Well, this sort of tracks the general mood among conservatives and Republicans, right? People love her, love what she stands for, love her especially because she upsets all the right people, but wonder about her “effectiveness” as governing.

    I can’t help but think that her numbers would be much better here if she hadn’t left the governorship of Alaska. That still seems like a professional and political mistake to me. I mean, here’s a version of that question: Who do you think would be a more effective president — Jan Brewer of Arizona or Sarah Palin?

    • #7
  8. Profile Photo Contributor
    @DianeEllis

    Rob Long: I mean, here’s a version of that question: Who do you think would be a more effective president — Jan Brewer of Arizona or Sarah Palin? · Aug 31 at 11:06am

    Jan Brewer. Similar types of women on a number of levels, but Jan Brewer just seems like the type of woman who’d get things done and wouldn’t back down, whereas Sarah Palin’s resignation from the governorship leaves a lot of question marks.

    • #8
  9. Profile Photo Member
    @

    My problem with Palin is two-fold:

    First, that she doesn’t seem to know what she doesn’t know and doesn’t seem to care about learning.

    Second, that she is the most divisive figure on the political scene, not beloved by Independents and guaranteed to bring out a Tsunami of voters on the Left: in other words, sure to lose an election we cannot afford to lose.

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Member
    @
    Whiskey Sam

    Rob Long: I can’t help but think that her numbers would be much better here if she hadn’t left the governorship of Alaska.

    What bothered me more than the resignation was that bizarre speech.

    If she couldn’t be bothered to do better than that for the pivotal speech in her political life, she’s just way too undisciplined and light-weight.

    • #10
  11. Profile Photo Member
    @

    Rob: Diane, it’s been too quiet the last couple of days.

    Diane: We could do Palin. That’s always good for a bar-fight.

    Rob: Wanna go with the dumb meme or the quitter meme?

    Diane: I’ll do dumb, you do quitter.

    Donneybrook ensues:

    • #11
  12. Profile Photo Contributor
    @DianeEllis

    Kenneth: Rob: Diane, it’s been too quiet the last couple of days.

    Diane: We could do Palin. That’s always good for a bar-fight.

    Rob: Wanna go with the dumb meme or the quitter meme?

    Diane: I’ll do dumb, you do quitter.

    Donneybrook ensues: · Aug 31 at 1:59pm

    Nonsense. I’ve said nothing regarding her intelligence. And for the record, I imagine she’s quite smart. In 2008, I was very sensitive to people writing her off as “dumb” simply because she’s not great at off the cuff responses. I similarly struggle orally articulating quick responses under pressure because I need a few moments to consider the question and gather my thoughts on the matter. I’d hate for people to judge me as stupid simply because I lack the verbal skills of a used car salesman.

    • #12
  13. Profile Photo Member
    @
    Diane Ellis, Ed.

    Kenneth: Rob: Diane, it’s been too quiet the last couple of days.

    Diane: We could do Palin. That’s always good for a bar-fight.

    Rob: Wanna go with the dumb meme or the quitter meme?

    Diane: I’ll do dumb, you do quitter.

    Donneybrook ensues: · Aug 31 at 1:59pm

    Nonsense. I’ve said nothing regarding her intelligence. And for the record, I imagine she’s quite smart. In 2008, I was very sensitive to people writing her off as “dumb” simply because she’s not great at off the cuff responses. I similarly struggle orally articulating quick responses under pressure because I need a few moments to consider the question and gather my thoughts on the matter. I’d hate for people to judge me as stupid simply because I lack the verbal skills of a used car salesman. · Aug 31 at 2:09pm

    It was a joke, Diane. Clumsy, but a joke.

    Your post took off on Vanity Fairs “not competent to govern” poll.

    Rob threw a little of the quitter vibe into the Palin-or-Brewer post.

    You guys weren’t attacking Palin.

    We can do that our own selves.

    • #13
  14. Profile Photo Member
    @
    Rob: Diane, it’s been too quiet the last couple of days.

    Diane: We could do Palin. That’s always good for a bar-fight. ·

    Helloooooo? Someone want to top Emily’s 100+ comment status? Let’s have a “cultural” post on Bristol Palin’s entry onto Dancing with the Stars! But who to do it?

    James? The psycho-sexual constructs of an unwed teen mother high stepping in glittering and revealing ball gowns in our post-post-feminist society suggests a new paradigm for family formation in the 21st century. Or does it?

    Peter? Oh my goodness, my boys and I enjoy a good ballroom competition, but where did this show come from? I had no idea so many people enjoyed ballroom dancing? Is this show new?

    Claire? I once covered a Turkish dancing competition for Car & Driver (fantastic editing btw) where the women danced for 42 straight hours in 104-degree weather while juggling fire. They danced until all the men in the audience passed out in drunken stupors and then the women had to clean up their vomit and carry them home on their backs. Are you beginning to understand Turkey yet?

    See you guys Thursday.

    • #14
  15. Profile Photo Member
    @

    They danced until all the men in the audience passed out in drunken stupors and then the women had to clean up their vomit and carry them home on their backs.

    I’m not Turkish, Trace, but cleaning up after me and hauling me home has always been the way to my heart.

    • #15
  16. Profile Photo Contributor
    @DianeEllis
    Trace Urdan

    James? The psycho-sexual constructs of an unwed teen mother high stepping in glittering and revealing ball gowns in our post-post-feminist society suggests a new paradigm for family formation in the 21st century. Or does it?

    Peter? Oh my goodness, my boys and I enjoy a good ballroom competition, but where did this show come from? I had no idea so many people enjoyed ballroom dancing? Is this show new?

    Claire? I once covered a Turkish dancing competition for Car & Driver (fantastic editing btw) where the women danced for 42 straight hours in 104-degree weather while juggling fire. They danced until all the men in the audience passed out in drunken stupors and then the women had to clean up their vomit and carry them home on their backs. Are you beginning to understand Turkey yet?

    See you guys Thursday.

    Trace, you’ve got everyone down pat. Maybe you can do some impersonations of us/for us on Thursday?

    • #16
  17. Profile Photo Podcaster
    @EJHill

    Oh, God. Is that back? Dancing with the Stars, or as it’s known in my house, Assisted Cultural Suicide!

    • #17
  18. Profile Photo Contributor
    @Midge

    Diane Ellis, Ed.: This past weekend, Vanity Fair released the 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll

    Do you think SARAH PALIN would have the ability to be an EFFECTIVE PRESIDENT?

    Oh, so many problems with this question… For one, I can’t tell whether “the ability to be an effective president” incorporates electability or not. Or how high the bar must be set to be “effective”.

    If the question incorporates electability, I’d say… less than 10% chance she could be effective. Wonderful a prez as she might make if she were elected, I doubt she even can be elected anymore.

    If the question takes her election as given, on the other hand, and merely requires “effective” to mean something like “more effective than at least 1/4 of previous presidents once in office”, I’d give her over a 90% shot at being effective.

    Also, how do you define “effective”? If “effective” means “doing a lot”, then Woodrow Wilson and FDR were very effective, though I consider neither close to my ideal in a president.

    But it’s often easier for me to find a polling question inadequate than it is for me to choose an answer.

    • #18
  19. Profile Photo Member
    @

    Piper is my Favorite Palin.

    That little vignette when she spit-shined Trig’s forehead had me all misty-eyed.

    There was more emotional content in that one moment than I’ve heard from Grizzly Mama in three years.

    Piper for President!

    • #19
  20. Profile Photo Inactive
    @WhiskeySam
    Rob Long: I can’t help but think that her numbers would be much better here if she hadn’t left the governorship of Alaska.

    This is the key point. I like her, but I have serious concerns because of this. And you know the question would come up in the primaries and a general election campaign. “Are you going to quit when the going gets tough? Are you committed to fulfilling your term of office?” Tough questions, but completely justified. That is a major disadvantage for someone trying to make a pitch to lead the country through troubled times.

    • #20

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