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The Fix: Is Palin the GOP's Pelosi?

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By Aaron Blake and Chris Cillizza
Friday, March 11, 2011; 9:15 AM

Sarah Palin's unfavorable rating has spiked to a new high, adding further fuel to the argument that her presidential campaign may be doomed before it begins.

A new Bloomberg poll shows the former Alaska governor is now viewed unfavorably by 60 percent of American adults. That's higher than any other poll has shown, but it's not even the entire picture.

Of that 60 percent, nearly two-thirds - 38 percent of all adults - say they view the former GOP vice presidential nominee "very unfavorably." No other politicians tested even comes close, including President Obama (22 percent). What's more, Palin's unfavorable rating is more than twice as high as her favorable rating, which rests at just 28 percent. Another 12 percent aren't sure how they feel about her.

The poll follows a long and continuous trend in which, as the presidential race nears, people gradually find that they like Palin less and less.

In fact, the numbers are starting to look a lot like someone else's: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Except that they are worse.

On the eve of her party's historic 2010 losses, the former House speaker's unfavorable rating rose into the mid-50s in most polling, while her favorable rating was right around 30. Bloomberg, using the same pollster as now, showed her favorable rating at 33 percent and her unfavorable rating at 55 percent.

Palin, after having better numbers around the time of the 2010 election, now has even worse numbers than Pelosi.

A recent NBC-Wall Street Journal poll showed Palin's favorability dropping to 27 percent, a CBS News-New York Times poll showed it dropping to 19 percent and now we have the Bloomberg poll.

There is no official campaign for Palin or any other major potential presidential candidate, but she is getting judged by voters as if there is. And so far she's moving in the wrong direction.

For a long time, it was accepted that, while she might not be broadly popular, she would at least have enough juice with the base to perform well in the primaries. Recent polling in Iowa and New Hampshire, though, shows her dropping in those two states -- including her ratings in Iowa, which would be a very important state for her. And Thursday's Bloomberg poll suggests we might be getting to the point where Palin is a bona fide liability - ala Pelosi - for the GOP.

So far, Palin has been a limited feature in Democratic attacks, but rest assured that Democrats are recording everything potential GOP candidates say about Palin from here on-out.

More McCaskill travel trouble: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), already facing criticism for billing taxpayers for flights on planes owned by her and her husband, may be in more trouble now that it turns out some of those trips were purely political.

McCaskill already reimbursed the state for all of her travel. But a new report says she used taxpayer money to take a trip for a political speech, which could be a violation of congressional ethics rules.

The freshman Democratic senator is facing scrutiny, in part, because she proposed legislation to reform government-paid foreign travel.

House GOP to offer entitlement cuts: House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) tells the AP that his caucus will offer politically explosive cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Ryan offered no specifics, saying details are still being hashed out, but he promised Republicans would "lead with our chin."

Democrats are hoping Republicans do just that -- and that they pay for it in 2012, as defending entitlements is one area where voters are against significant cutbacks.


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