Some love her. Some hate her. But one thing is certain; Sarah Palin is one of the most influential figures in politics today.
With a single update on Facebook or Twitter she has the power to incite media frenzy. However, even with her national exposure it is unclear if she can rally enough support to nab the Republican nomination for president in 2012, should she throw her hat in the ring.
In the key early primary states Iowa and New Hampshire, Public Policy Polling (PPP) indicates Palin will have a tough road ahead. In Iowa, PPP found Palin finishing a distant third, 15 percentage points behind current Iowa frontrunner Mike Huckabee. In New Hampshire, Palin also finishes third, nearly 30 points behind Mitt Romney, the frontrunner in that contest.
PPP points out that while the history of Republican primaries has seen candidates surge despite the odds to ultimately win the nomination, typically this is attributable to an increase in name recognition. Palin has already reached the zenith of name recognition. It would be hard to imagine a likely voter not knowing of Sarah Palin. As the early primaries approach, potential candidates without such strong name recognition, such as pro-life Governor Tim Pawlenty or pro-life Senator John Thune, may begin to gain some momentum.
It remains to be seen whether Palin can reach beyond her core supporters to draw in Republicans on the fence. Going beyond her loyal base is the only way she can overcome the current numbers in the early contests. However, this will be a tall order. Among Republicans, Gallup polling reveals Palin provokes the most negative reaction of all the 2012 hopefuls. 8% strongly disfavor her compared to only 1% for Mike Huckabee and 4% for Newt Gingrich.
Thus far, all of the major potential candidates hold a pro-life position. Any one of them would provide a stark contrast to the radically pro-abortion policies of the Obama Administration. It will be vitally important that pro-lifers become engaged in the nominating process and in the general election to ensure a pro-life president is elected in 2012.