At Human Events, Tony Lee is of the opinion that if Herman Cain's weekend straw poll win in Florida indicates Republicans are not enthusiastic about Perry and Romney, there's one candidate who could be poised to jump into the race and has the ability to "square the Buckley rule of electing the most electable conservative with the Limbaugh rule of electing the most conservative person in the field. That candidate is former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin":
In a reputable and unbiased McClatchy/Marist poll released last week, Palin trailed President Obama by just five percent, 49% to 44%. These numbers are most striking when just last month, Obama led Palin, 56% to 35%. Palin made up the difference and surged because she has won over independent voters and now leads Obama among those crucial swing voters.Lee further observes that more so than any other candidate or potential candidate in the GOP field, Sarah Palin has embraced Tea party principles, which are closely associated with conservative principles. Therefore, she meets the Limbaugh test while remaining consistent with Buckley's.
In August, Obama led among independent voters over Palin, 48% to 42%. Now, Palin leads Obama, 47% to 43%. Further, within her own party, Palin has strengthened her support among Tea Party voters, getting the support of 87% of those who support the Tea Part as opposed to just 70% in August.
One reason Palin may have won over independent voters in the past month is that she brought up the issue of crony capitalism in multiple speeches and television appearances before Obama was hit with a bevy of crony capitalism scandals ranging from Solyndra to LightSquared. Further, Palin has also reached out to union workers and disaffected Democrats in Facebook notes and speeches with her free market populism that pits her against big government and crony capitalism. This is the strategy Reagan used to build his enduring coalition, which Palin seems to be trying to cobble back together for the 21st century, uniting blue collar voters -- white and minority -- who identify with Main Street over Wall Street and Washington, D.C.
Because Palin now beats Obama among swing voters and is almost within the margin of error against Obama (and is the only candidate who is surging against Obama), though, she has to be considered electable as well.
And while Giuliani and Romney do slightly better against Obama than Palin, both Giuliani and Romney are associated with the liberal, northeastern, Rockefeller wing of the Republican party and cannot claim to be more conservative than Palin. The only candidate among the top four who can claim to be more conservative than Giuliani or Romney would be Texas Gov. Rick Perry, but Palin does better against Perry not only against Obama but among crucial independent voters.
According to Lee, if the GOP field gets winnowed down to Giuliani, Romney, Palin, and Perry, Gov. Palin is arguably the most conservative among them and the conservative candidate with the best chance of making Obama a one term president by winning over independents and staying in harmony with both the Buckley and Limbaugh rules.