From Scott Rasmussen:
Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Republican voters say Alaska Governor Sarah Palin helped John McCain’s bid for the presidency, even as news reports surface that some McCain staffers think she was a liability.
Only 20% of GOP voters say Palin hurt the party’s ticket, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Six percent (6%) say she had no impact, and five percent (5%) are undecided.
Ninety-one percent (91%) of Republicans have a favorable view of Palin, including 65% who say their view is Very Favorable. Only eight percent (8%) have an unfavorable view of her, including three percent (3%) Very Unfavorable.
When asked to choose among some of the GOP’s top names for their choice for the party’s 2012 presidential nominee, 64% say Palin. The next closest contenders are two former governors and unsuccessful challengers for the presidential nomination this year — Mike Huckabee of Arkansas with 12% support and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts with 11%.
This is a helpful bit of perspective, considering the non-stop smear campaign against Palin cooked up by unnamed critics and ex-McCain staffers and fueled by a segment of conservative commentators. While the punditocracy is greatly divided on Palin, actual Republicans (i.e. voters) are not. Four years may be an eternity in politics. But for now, Palin enjoys a unique base of support among the people who will count in determining the 2012 nomination.