Commentary Magazine


Is Door Closed on Palin?

In April, Human Events published a column offering ten reasons Sarah Palin will run for president. Last month, Fox News host Greta Van Susteren blogged about the seven reasons Palin will run for president. Then last week, Henry D’Andrea, writing in the Washington Times, offered three reasons he believes Palin will run for president.

Though I’ve been skeptical all along that Palin would run, I would imagine the entrance of Rick Perry into the race will give Palin one very good reason not to. Perry’s candidacy has, as many others have pointed out, put several of the Republican campaigns on life support. As I wrote last week, the latest Gallup poll numbers show once Perry is included, Republican primary voters show substantially less interest in candidates outside the field. There may still be calls for Paul Ryan or Chris Christie to get in the race, but Perry has quieted the clamoring for “someone else.” But the numbers also show why he easily replaces Palin.

Perry has two impressive numbers in the Gallup polling: his overall placement (second, right behind Mitt Romney) and his “positive intensity score.” Gallup defines this as “the difference between strongly favorable and strongly unfavorable opinions among those who are familiar with him or her. This score provides an indication of the intensity of support among a candidate’s base of followers at any given point in the campaign.”

In the most recent Gallup polling, Perry’s positive intensity score is at 23, five points higher than Palin’s 18. The full poll, however, shows when Perry and Palin are in the race together, Perry polls at 15 percent to Palin’s 12. (The poll includes Rudy Giuliani as well.) Additionally, Perry has the kind of grassroots support, popularity with conservative new media and solid reputation among conservative evangelical voters from which Palin would build a campaign.

For Palin to run, she would need to focus her firepower on a moderate establishment candidate, like Romney. But Perry may well begin his official campaign as either the frontrunner or close to it. A Palin candidacy would seem unnecessary to primary voters once Perry is in the race. I’m sure speculation will continue, but Perry seems to have closed the door on a Palin candidacy this year.

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