Sarah Palin’s biggest obstacle to the White House may not be her remarkable level of unpopularity with Democrats and independents. Her more immediate problem is that she simply doesn’t have much support in the vital early Republican states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and Florida.
Palin does well in national polls on the GOP nomination contest, including a first place finish on our most recent one. But if those sorts of polls determined the nominee Hillary Clinton would most likely be in the White House now. The momentum or lack thereof that candidates get out of the early contests is often what causes their bids to succeed or fail and right now she looks quite weak in those places.
In Iowa two different polls this week found that Palin is a distant third in Iowa. We found her 15 points behind Mike Huckabee with 15% support and Neighborhood Research found her 13 points behind Huckabee with only 11% support. In New Hampshire our most recent poll found her in a tie for third place at 10% with Newt Gingrich, 30 points behind Mitt Romney. A Magellan Strategies poll last week found her with a similarly larger deficit, in second place at 16%, 23 points behind Romney. In Nevada she’s been in second place in one of our recent surveys and in third place in another, but at any rate she’s running double digits behind Romney. And in Florida our most recent poll found her in a distant fourth place at only 13%, 10 points behind Huckabee, 8 behind Romney, and 5 behind Gingrich.