Sarah Palin may not be as well liked as she thinks she is in her home state of Alaska. According to a Public Policy Polling poll released on Tuesday, the former governor and vice-presidential hopeful currently holds a dismal 39 percent favorability rating among Alaskan voters.
Earlier this month Palin told Sean Hannity that she was considering entering the U.S. Senate race to replace Senator Mark Begich (D-AK). “I’ve considered it because people have requested me considering it,” Palin told the Fox News host.
Those people are a clear minority; only 47 percent of voters in the Last Frontier State consider Palin to be an Alaskan, and only 41 percent think she should be running for Senate in Alaska as opposed to Arizona, where the Palin family have a home.
Begich’s seat is critical to Republican hopes of winning a Senate majority, increasing the party’s incentive to find an electable candidate. Right-wing activist and 2010 Republican nominee Joe Miller and Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell have formally filed papers to run for the Republican Senate nomination, and there is growing speculation that former attorney general and current Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan may join the race upon returning from military duty in Afghanistan. If Palin entered the race she would be the favorite in the primary, with the support of 36 percent of Alaska Republicans. Treadwell is second at 26 percent, followed by Sullivan at 15 percent and Miller at 12 percent.
Without Palin in the race, Treadwell would lead with 33 percent, followed by Sullivan at 25 percent and Miller at 24 percent.
Although Palin is the favorite among GOP voters, Treadwell is the best chance Republicans have of ousting Begich. When each Republican candidate was matched up against Begich in a hypothetical general election, Joe Miller and Sarah Palin struggle, trailing the incumbent 55 to 32 and 52 to 40 percent, respectively. Begich leads Sullivan by 7 points, and holds a 4 point lead over Treadwell.
This is promising news for Begich and Senate Democrats: if Palin enters the race she would have a good chance of winning the primary, but falling flat in the general election. If Palin decides to not enter the race, Treadwell would likely triumph in the primary, giving Begich a more difficult path to re-election.
Palin has plenty of criticism for Senator Begich, saying he “has not done what he has promised to do for the people of Alaska and that was to represent what it is that the nation needs in terms of energy development and so many other… development issues that are near and dear to an Alaskan’s heart.” Palin continued, “Because he’s on the wrong side of the aisle, he has to go along to get along with his Democrat leadership. And that’s a shame. That’s a waste of opportunity for our nation.”
Sarah Palin has time to decide whether or not she’ll run for U.S. Senate, but this poll should serve as a word of caution to the Tea Party darling. Not only do 58 percent of Alaskans polled have an unfavorable opinion of Palin, but she ought to know that her approval rating in the state she once led is equal to President Obama’s—and he lost the state by 14 points in 2012.