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Many think a Palin candidacy would be DOA because of her poll numbers. But are those poll numbers a reflection of what people actually have seen of Palin or just a reflection of the portrayal and constant mocking of her over the years? I made the same case for Romney as he was “disliked” in polls by people who had never heard him speak a word. When his poll and favorable poll numbers were low, I reminded people it was a result of both how the media focused on him and the image set by the Obama campaign. But when people actually saw him for the first time in the first debate, a strange thing happened: they liked him. Yep, he was nothing like what voters thought. His favorable numbers rose dramatically, and they were even above 50% by election day. He didn’t win, but a lot more people liked him after they actually saw him than when they expressed an opinion based on a caricature of him. The same could be true with Palin. If anything, the caricature of her is so borderline-silly that most people would be shocked to find out she could recite the alphabet. And how many people think she actually said “I can see Russia from my house”? Palin took a beating far worse than any candidate in recent history. Could she reshape her image? While many memories of the 2008 campaign might have been erased, I’ve noted before that after her 2008 VP acceptance speech, Palin was easily the most popular of the four candidates: 
 
“A week after the selection of Palin, the Republicans would hold their nominating convention and Palin delivered a speech for the ages. Her favorable numbers immediately soared. In fact, her favorable numbers at that point were greater than those of Barack Obama. A CNN Poll had Palin’s favorable ratings at +30 (Obama was +26), Newsweek had Palin at +30 (Obama at +20), and NBC News had Palin at +20 (Obama +21). The McCain-Palin ticket suddenly led Obama-Biden in 7 polls, tied in 3, and trailed in just 2.”
 
In that speech, she went after Obama big time. She was not friendly. She was incredibly likeable and the public approved. It wasn’t until the 2-month media offensive and character assassination (and as just a VP candidate, a relatively small platform with which to respond) did her numbers start to turn. The media set the narrative that she wasn’t experienced enough to be vice-president by constantly writing “Does She Have Enough Experience” pieces. Ironically, while those pieces were written about a governor, mayor, and state commissioner about a VP role, they were never asked of her opposing presidential candidate who was a part-time state legislator and freshman US Senator.
 

Palin is Already Vetted

Finally, Palin is a known commodity. We’ve seen her at her best and her worst. (And her “worst” is more what others have done to her rather than something she has done to herself.) She is very conservative with a populist stretch. She is inclusive. She reaches out to everyone. She is an effective speaker. The media has already investigated every hair on her head, read every email she ever wrote, and even accidentally discovered she was a good governor after all. One thing with Palin is sure: there is nothing left to be vetted except her ideas. Would Palin be a risky move? Well, how did the last two guys work out for us and who among the Republicans would be a better force to at least try to stomp her opponent the way they will stomp back?

 

Chances are unlikely that Sarah Palin will run in 2016, but if all of the top conservatives choose to sit out, it’s still a possibility.

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