If GOP Candidates Can't Make It Here, They Can't Make It Anywhere

It's hard to see populist, wacky GOP candidates making much progress nationally if they can't get any traction in Arizona.

A poll of 623 Arizona voters released today reflects a couple things -- almost nobody likes Donald Trump, and most people would prefer Sarah Palin not move here.In the poll -- from Public Policy Polling -- opinions are recorded about possible GOP nominees for the 2012 presidential election, and how they'd vote if they ran against President Barack Obama.

Donald Trump was the most unfavorable of five possible GOP candidates -- with a full 2/3 of people dissin' the Donald with an "unfavorable" ranking.

Remember that whole thing about former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin moving to Arizona for a possible Senate campaign?

Most people would prefer that not happen.

Palin was the second-most-disliked candidate -- with 62 percent having unfavorable opinions -- and a later question revealed 57 percent of people would prefer that she not move to Arizona.

Trump also suffered the biggest blowout in a hypothetical match-up against Obama, garnering votes from only 36 percent of respondents.


  1. Benjamin Cole:

    Often after losing a Presidential election, either one of the major political parties decides to commit seppuku. They go back to the base, and infighting goes haywire. Someone who is perceived as an extremist runs under the banner.

    The GOP wheeled out Goldwater in 64. He lost big. He got 38 percent of the PV.
    The Dems brought out George McGovern in 76. He lost big, also got 38 percent of the PV.
    The Dems tried with Mondale in 1984.
    The GOP candidate Bob Dole was routed in 1996.
    The Dem candidate Kerry actually didn't do half-bad in 2006, but was too liberal for the voting public.

    This go 'round, look for a real lu-lu from the GOP. It will fit the pattern, the go-back-to-the-base need. The GOP team will get sent back to the funny farm in 2012, and then a "serious" candidate will emerge in 2016. Probably to win, maybe in the Electoral College.

    Interestingly enough, we may see several GOP Presidential "victories" ala 2000 in coming national elections, in which the people vote for the D-Party candidate, but the Electoral College brings in an R-Party man. This is not exactly democracy, but it could happen.

  2. Doug:

    Arizona: the state that gave us McCain. Leadership we can all believe in. And how could anyone forget Raul Grijalva?

  3. stan:

    This is why the liberal attack machine has bashed Palin from day one -- it works. They trashed Clarence Thomas, Newt Gingrich, Reagan, and it always worked. Reagan overcame it because of his own extraordinary charisma, but even his supporters came to believe he wasn't smart.

    The relentless slander works. And since no one is perfect, they will always have some starting material. Palin's mistakes pale in comparison to those of Biden, Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, Edwards, Kerry, Gore..... But no one has beaten the crap out of the Democrats every day to a national audience in the way that the liberal attack dogs do.

  4. gadfly:

    I can only believe that the Palin was shafted by the over-the-top liberal hit job applied against her after the Gabrielle Giffords shooting. The attacks on Arizona politicians by the left has your governor hiding from any and all controversy.

  5. Benjamin Cole:

    Stan: The treatment afforded Clinton was pretty fierce. The "mainstream media" crapped all over him, and then gave total credibility to an investigation into his sex life.

    "Did you insert a cigar-holder into the vagina of Monica Lewinsky?"

    That question, asked of Bill Clinton, was broadcast national TV.

    Maybe Clinton deserved it--I tend to think a guy's sex life is no business of mine.

    The media is a hydra-headed monster. Rich and powerful people own the media, buy ad space. Many reporters are liberal. I find "the media" is not so much liberal or conservative, but shallow.

  6. Not Sure:

    "Maybe Clinton deserved it–I tend to think a guy’s sex life is no business of mine."

    Not exactly his sex life, but I recall the townhall metting (or whatever it was called) where Clinton was asked "boxers or briefs" about his underwear and he considered it a serious enough question to answer.

    My vote- he invited the interest in his sex life by refusing to set boundaries until things started to go in a direction he wasn't happy with.

  7. Cluemeister:

    Wacky candidates plural? What has Sarah Palin done that makes her "wacky"?

    I refuse to allow the left define for me who to support. If she runs, I'll support her.

  8. Rathtyen:

    At this stage I am still picking Palin to run, win the Republican nomination, and then win in November 2012.

    Probably the worst that can honestly be said about Palin is that she may be a bit of a lightweight. May be, but its not clear whether she is or not. Her problem is that from day one she has had one of the most relentless, vitriolic, character assassination campaigns waged against her ever seen. As “Stan” correctly comments, the campaign against Reagan even had his supporters believing he wasn’t all too bright – mud sticks.

    There may be legitimate reasons to believe Palin is not a good or suitable candidate (which applies to a greater or lesser degree to all candidates), but in her case the vitriol has been truly excessive.

    And yet, she is still in solid contention. Far from running away, or being beaten, Palin is looking better placed now than at any time over the past two years. She’s tough and she’s smart, and so far seems to be in control of her destiny. Assuming she does run, things can go wrong and she could implode, but having been through such a total baptism of fire, seriously, is there anyone else more experienced with dealing with such a tough atmosphere? And its not as though it is something new – her mayoral and governors campaigns were conducting in the face of considerable opposition, and not the least from her own party.

    The biggest thing Palin will have going for her will be the timing – and put simply, the times will suit her. Eighteen months from now – count on economic problems, high unemployment and recession, the bite of inflation, overwhelming deficits, unsettled international affairs, and a demonstrably ineffective President Obama. In contrast to him, she will shine, and like Margaret Thatcher, she will be the firm alternative in tough times. Obama is going to do what he did as a state and federal senator – vote present and campaign, leaving the government rudderless. Who do you think America’s enemies will be more afraid of, Obama or Palin? I wouldn’t care about him, but I wouldn’t be game to cross her!

    Think of Palin with Marco Rubio, Herman Cain or Michelle Bachmann as her VP running mate. Potentially risky, but ….

    Palin knows the normal rules don’t apply to her. She needs to play her own game to succeed, and that is always risky. But with risks come rewards, and that is what she has in her mind. Playing by other peoples rules is for other people, not for her.

    [On a side note, “Benjamin Cole” commented on the hard time Clinton got as President. True, he copped a torrid time, but it was not comparable to Palin. Clinton, as the most powerful executive in the world, was getting blow jobs in the Oval Office bathroom from the unpaid office junior (she went home with his semen stains on her dress!). In anyone’s book, that would be sexual harassment, and any corporate executive caught out would face instant dismissal. Some guys might think “good luck to him”, but it simply isn’t what the President of the United States should be doing. Plus following on from a number of scandals involving the use of official power and women, sometimes in an apparently coercive manner, you’d have to say he got off lightly. I’m hard put to think of another politician who would have survived, including re-election, the process (and certainly not a Republican).]

  9. Bob Smith:

    I wouldn't trust the poll. Note the admission that most of the respondents were old, meaning they're most likely to get their news and information from the mainstream media, with all its Palin bashing and Trump bashing.

  10. tomw:

    "It’s hard to see populist, wacky GOP candidates making much progress nationally if they can’t get any traction in Arizona."

    Are you saying Arizona normally supports wacky populist GOP candidates???


    Where were the Pawlenty, Daniels, Jindal and Christy options? Seems as if they are limiting the choices prematurely. Maybe.

    Palin has not demonstrated the depth of knowledge that I would personally like her to have. Maybe that will become apparent in debates ... or not. In my observation, she has improved, but it seems there are too many hems and haws filling air time where there should be a simple, reasonable reply.

    p.s. Too early to prognosticate, IMO.

  11. caseyboy:

    I have to say that I agree with most of the comments regarding Palin. The left-leaning media has been hammering her relentlessly now for nearly 3 years. That works because many Americans are too busy living to study the political options. How do you think we got into the political and economic mess we find ourselves in? Civil disengagement.

    I'd take Ms Palin over our current boy wonder any day. Her inclination is for a more limited federal government. To the extent she errors we'll still be moving in the right direction. Obama is all about growing and consolidating federal power.

  12. Orion:

    Palin loves a limited government regarding guns and taxes. She loves giant government regarding our sex lives and reproductive choices. Just another faux-conservative.

  13. Benjamin Cole:


    My point is not whether Clinton deserved his treatment in the media or not (I found details of sex life titillating but unimportant). The media covered the Clinton sex life story like a blanket while serious issues got short shrift. Is this a liberal or conservative media? I don't think either. Is the WSJ "liberal" How about Fox News? They are both "mainstream media."

    As a libertarian, I find the long-term occupations of Iraqistan nearly intolerable; yet that issue seems to get zero coverage. The national debt (minus inter-agency debt) is about $9 trillion, and we have obligated ourselves to $3 trillion in outlays in Iraqistan. This should be a daily topic in the media--but gets no coverage. Is that liberal, conservative, or just shallow? People laugh at Donald Trump, but he is the only GOP candidate to frame the cost of Iraq in terms of benefits--a businessman's view, and not a bad one. (I disagree with Trump on seizing oil fields).

    As for Palin, she falls into the pattern I highlighted in my first post--a "back to the core" candidate. If she does get the GOP nomination, she will lose by a wide margin to a incumbent who moves to the middle.

  14. me:

    Honestly, I do hope that polls like these will prevent Palin from running. My reason is purely selfish - pretty much the only way that the current President could get reelected would be if the candidate fielded by the GOP is seen as entirely unreasonable and a much worse alternative. And I can't abide the thought that the current President be reelected.

  15. openmindedDem:

    Don't forget that young GOP rocket scientist Ruth McClung who people thought Rep. Grijalva would beat like all the rest with about 30%. You never know what will happen in politics! I voted for her even tho I am a Democrat. Who knows who people will come to like enough to vote for as time goes on. Heck maybe I will even look at a GOP candidate if Obama doesn't do stop spending my money!

  16. Dr. T:

    The poll results are less than worthless. Public Policy Polling, a **Democratic** company conducted an automated phone call poll that was completed by only 623 persons. These polls always are unrepresentative. People who use cell phones never get called. People who screen their calls never respond. The people who replied rarely picked the "not sure" choice even when they knew next to nothing about the person. The poll asked "Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of... Gingrich, Huckabee, Palin, Romney, or Trump?" It did not pose that question for President Obama or any other Democratic politicians. The only Republican who got a plurality of favorable opinions was the Republican in Name Only, Mitt Romney. Palin and Gingrich both had twice as many respondents indicate unfavorable opinions versus favorable opinions. The results indicate that a disproportionately large number of poll respondents were Democrats. Recent data shows that among Arizona voters, 1.1 million are Republicans, 1.0 million are Independents, and 1.0 million are Democrats. You'd never guess that from this biased poll.

  17. ADiff:

    The fact rational Republicans can still believe Sarah Palin is a viable national candidate seems to me proof enough of the self-immolation predicted by Benjamin Cole.

    Far too many folks see the GOP as the nativist party of god (that last, by the way, is Hizballah in arabic...) for anyone who expects to win in '12 to tolerate any litmus tests.

    The GOP can count on the electoral college, but it's seriously running the risk of being relegated to the status of a regional party, a fate the Democrats have only been saved from in the representative branch by the miracle of gerrymandering.

  18. JOdy:

    Trump is quite the suspect Republican. (Clinton support, Kelo...)

  19. Craig:

    You're citing a PPP poll? C'mon. Other than the two weeks just before an election, PPP's efforts are notoriously biased. They seem to be able to clean up their act when everyone's paying attention, though.

  20. Mark:

    If the GOP is a "regional" party, then the Democratic Party is an insular one. Look at an electoral map sometime. Most of the country votes "Red". The "Blue" areas are centered on the major cities.

  21. Smock Puppet:

    Dude, Arizona is so conservative they keep re-electing McCain.

    'Nuff said.

  22. Eric Hammer:

    Last I checked, everyone was interested in Clinton's sex life because he committed perjury when answering questions regarding it during a sexual harassment suit of another woman. That line "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Monica Lewinski" was played because that was the President lying under oath. Kind of a big deal; any one of us would have ended up in prison. He was impeached, but really got off lightly when you get down to it.

    That isn't to say that there weren't other important things going on that should have gotten covered, but the mere fact that most people don't even remember why the president having sexual relations with Monica was relevant demonstrates pretty well that the issue was handled with kids gloves. It wasn't "just sex", it was "just committing perjury during the sexual harassment case of another woman."

  23. astonerii:

    Lets see how many people factually would vote against or stay home if any of the candidates they say they would NEVER vote for is the nominee. Election after election shows that fully 90%+ of all people who vote regularly, vote for the brand name, not the candidate name. So the only people who make any difference are those who do not vote regularly, and the question is this, if they refuse to vote for this candidate, will they vote for any candidate? Again, it comes down to history, and the answer is the following, people rarely ever go out of their way to vote simply for the candidate, other things force them to decide to go to the polls. Bad economy, high gas prices, cost of bread went up big time, lost job, government intrusion into their life they cannot ignore, financial crisis, fill in the blank. Once they are motivated to go out, it once again comes down to brand not name.

    Obama may have been different, or it could just as easily be outside forces that got him elected. people hated Bush after 6 years of media harping day and night, the Republicans were in control of the White House when the financial crisis struck, McCain really was not trying, the media went all in for Obama, far beyond how they have gone full in for any previous candidate, hell we got John Failing Kerry's grades long before election night. Taken together, this deflated the desire of conservatives to go out and vote and hyper inflated the progressives to go out and vote.

    Even Reagan, while a compelling speaker was hoisted beyond his base potential due to circumstance rather than persona. Gas prices, stagflation, Iran hostage crisis all combined to increase his base turnout and deflate the progressive base turnout. He did however turn a far larger percentage of Democrats into Republican voters than Obama ever turned republicans into democratic voters. Reagan's democrats remained loyal for many years after he left office, how many republicans do you think are going to become regular democrat voters?

    It is the standing of the world at the time of the election stupid.

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