The New York TimesHmmm. What do those publications have in common? Ah, but I digress...
The Daily Kos
The Washington Post
Talking Points Memo
The latest Hays poll pegs Gov. Palin's approval rating at 54% positive and 41% negative. Prior to becoming John McCain's lipstick-wearing attack pit bull, the governor had Hays numbers as high as a stratospheric 86% positive and only 9% negative.
A couple of caveats here. Hays surveys unusually small samples of only 400 data points, so the margin of error of its surveys is plus or minus 5%. That means the governor's true approval rating could be as high as 59% or as low as 49%. I would say that it's closer to the 59% figure because her approval rating in Alaska has hovered around the 60% mark since early November. Also, most governors would kill to have an approval rating in the mid-fifties, as Palin is enjoys higher approval numbers than most of her peers.
Regardless, leftist websites are having a field day with the results. They say that she's on her way to the political graveyard. They crow that media reports about her family and her dealings with a do-little legislature amount to the kiss of political death for the first-term governor.
Not so fast, there, pilgrim. The same Wall Street Journal reported in March that President Obama's approval ratings had fallen to 56%:
Overall, Rasmussen Reports shows a 56%-43% approval, with a third strongly disapproving of the president's performance. This is a substantial degree of polarization so early in the administration. Mr. Obama has lost virtually all of his Republican support and a good part of his Independent support, and the trend is decidedly negative.Given the 5% margin of error of the Hays poll and Rasmussen's more confident 3%, the approval ratings for Gov. Palin and President Obama are not statistically significant. The fact that the numbers for both the president and the governor have fallen to still very good, but more realistic, levels doesn't mean that either of them have reached the ends of their respective political careers. There's still a long way to go to the next election.
The nutroots bloggers who are celebrating the decline in Gov. Palin's numbers, of course, fail to mention that the president's approval ratings have taken a similar dip. When you actually have to do something in government, no matter what it is, you're going to anger a portion of the electorate. It's called governing, and it has its consequences. Abraham Lincoln addressed it on one of his most famous quotations (which he adapted from poet John Lydgate):
"You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time."Update: To put Gov. Palin's ratings in perspective, take a look at this table of governor approval ratings at Race 4 2012. As I've said many times, Sarah Palin still has approval numbers that most of her fellow governors would kill for.