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Palin's Favorability Rating Drops as She Prepares to Leave Office, Poll Finds

Another respondent, Christopher Carr, 30, a sales consultant from New Mexico, spoke of Palin in glowing terms: "Even though she is a woman of tremendous power, I feel personally like she comes from a level that is more like my level," he said. "Personally, I feel like she sees things more from where the common people are coming from, not the wealthier ones."

Americans also are split on the question of whether Palin shares their values: Forty-eight percent say she does, while 47 percent think she does not, according to the poll. Among those identifying themselves as conservative Republicans, 83 percent say she shares their values.

Fifty-four percent say Palin is not a strong leader; 40 percent say she is. Obama, meanwhile, is viewed as a strong leader by 71 percent in the poll. GOP women are more apt than GOP men to see Palin as a strong leader, and a slim majority of Americans consider her honest and trustworthy.

Rick Buila, 38, of Sharonville, Ohio, who works in finance and voted for the McCain-Palin ticket in November, said his opinion of the governor has changed. "I don't think that she is cut out to be on the national stage," he said. "I look at her education and her background and the way she carries herself and her [resignation] speech, and when you have someone who's out there saying 'You betcha' about 50 times, I don't think that's the person we want to have negotiating with other countries."

As the shadowboxing for the GOP nomination begins, Palin's eroding favorability among Republicans and white evangelicals could be a hurdle. The poll showed former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee leading a pack of potential contenders.

Huckabee, who won the 2008 Iowa caucuses, recorded the support of 26 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, followed closely by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney at 21 percent and Palin at 19 percent. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) ranked fourth with 10 percent. Among white evangelicals, Huckabee outpaces Palin and the others by better than 2 to 1.

The poll of 1,001 randomly selected adults on conventional and cellular phones was conducted July 15-18. The results from the full poll have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. The question about the 2012 Republican presidential nomination has an error margin of five points.

Polling analyst Jennifer Agiesta contributed to this report.

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