No matter how much you may hope for it, it seems unlikely that you'll be using the phrase "Senator Sarah Palin" with any great regularity in 2015. A new poll indicates that the former Alaska governor is about as popular in the state as Barack Obama — which is to say, not very popular at all. But even more surprising, while the former vice presidential candidate has made Alaska a central part of her public image, the state's residents split on the question of whether Palin is all that Alaskan.
Conducted by Public Policy Polling, the survey is the first to evaluate Palin's chances in challenging the sitting Democrat, Sen. Mark Begich. Palin obliquely referred to a run earlier this month, immediately energizing her base / pundits. (The pundits then moved on to Anthony Weiner.)
Here's how it looks: Begich, who narrowly defeated longtime incumbent Ted Stevens in 2008, is up for reelection for the first time. Several Republicans have announced their intention to run in the primary. Among those candidates, Palin comes in first.
Which is where the good news ends. In a head-to-head match-up with Begich, Palin — despite having much wider name recognition — trails by twelve points. Begich wins moderates by a three-to-one margin.
That surprisingly poor showing is in part because people in Alaska are largely indifferent to their one-time leader. Barack Obama, who lost the state by 14 points to Mitt Romney, has basically the exact same favorability ratings as Palin.
And part of that is because a lot of those polled apparently feel as though Palin is no longer a legit Alaskan. Public Policy Polling, known for its attention-grabbing (read: "trolly") questions, asked respondents if Palin should be considered a resident of the state.
Should Palin run from Alaska or Arizona?
Is Palin an Alaskan?
You will be unsurprised to learn that the split in those questions is largely partisan. But, unhappily for Palin, about 20 percent of Republicans think she is a non-Alaskan who should run in Arizona (where the Palins have a home).
We have to admit: Something about Arizona Senators McCain and Palin has a ring to it.