The headline at “The Fix” was too captivating to ignore: “Newt Gingrich: The most disliked politician in America.” Two new polls show the former speaker of the House with super-high unfavorable ratings that make his quest for the White House quaintly Quixotic.
As Aaron Blake notes, the CNN-Opinion Research poll showed that 63 percent of those surveyed held an “unfavorable” view of Gingrich. This was 9 points worse (54 percent) than his standing in the New York Times-CBS News poll released yesterday. But Blake made an assertion that piqued my interest. “Sarah Palin, even at her most divisive,” he wrote, “never saw her unfavorable rating rise above 60 percent in the CNN poll.” That may be — but that’s not saying much.
Before Palin bowed to the obvious and finally declared she was not running for president, I constantly carped that there was no way she could possibly run because of graphs like the one you see below.
The good folks at Pollster.com have taken all the poll data and then made nifty graphs that averages all the data. Sarah Palin’s favorable/unfavorable ratings have been yawning since about October 2008, right around the time of those disastrous interviews where she revealed the wafer thinness of her policy knowledge and depth. As you can see, Palin’s average unfavorable rating rested at 58.8 percent. But she did hit 61 percent unfavorable in an Associated Press poll last October and 62 percent unfavorable in a New York Times-CBS News poll last September. Gingrich’s unfavorable rating in the current Times-CBS poll is the highest ever in that survey’s history. And in that September 2010 Times-CBS poll, Gingrich’s unfavorable rating was 46 percent, 16 points lower than Palin’s.
This whole “most disliked politician in America” thing, then, is relative. But such high negatives could lead Gingrich to a similar end now faced by Palin, which was neatly summed up by The Post’s Stephanie McCrummen today. Writing about the reaction of an attendee of the Conservative Political Action Conference to Palin, McCrummen wrote, “The response reflects how Palin’s star has traveled from a central place in the galaxy of conservative politics to a more nebulous, quasi-pop culture, quasi-political realm that is the dwelling place of figures such as Donald Trump.” There’s no danger of Gingrich becoming a pop-culture icon. But how far he slides in the galaxy of conservative politics will be a sight to behold.