Byron York calls some attention to just how strong Sarah Palin looks in the newest Washington Post/ABC poll. But whether Palin chooses to run or not, the poll reveals one reason Mitt Romney is a relatively weak front-runner.

The poll asked respondents who lean Republican which of the candidates “best understands the problems of people like you.” In this, Palin leads with 23 percent. Romney follows with 18 percent, and Bachmann comes in third with 11 percent.

One of the reasons Palin has been such a force at the grassroots level is that her personal story—a mother who runs for office to replace the corrupt male leaders of her own party, wins, and then is savaged by left-wing misogynists for being a conservative woman and mother and heckled mercilessly by arrogant elites because she graduated from the University of Idaho—is appealing to “regular” people.

Voters who live between D.C. and San Francisco have a much more difficult time relating to an Ivy League faux-intellectual disdainful of workers and religious Americans (Obama) and a rich business executive who seems worlds away from their daily financial anxieties (Romney). Palin is still far from what the voters say they want when it comes to leadership and experience, but Republican candidates would be wise to keep this poll in mind. Most voters are nothing like Obama or Romney. This has its benefits and its drawbacks. But when voters believe a candidate doesn’t understand their problems, it’s a major drawback.

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