There has been some predictable crowing about how poorly Palin has fared in recent polls, e.g., losing to Obama among independents by 17 points. But you can choose examples from American history, virtually at random, that demonstrate how meaningless such long-distance polls can be. Who, looking at the exit polls from 2004, would have said the Democrats, to have a prayer of winning the presidency four years later, absolutely had to nominate a young leftist community organizer with close to zero national experience? And who, reading the exit polls from 2008, would have said the Republicans’ only hope of winning the midterms was to become really, really right-wing?
And check this out, a random example from the past, from Time magazine of March 22, 1976, well into that election year:
If the election was held today, Gerald Ford would handily defeat any of the major Democratic contenders.
In the contest for his party’s nomination, Ford is preferred over Ronald Reagan by a 2-to-1 margin among Republican and independent voters. . . .
Ford would beat [Hubert] Humphrey decisively, 52% to 37%, with 11% undecided. This is a marked improvement for Ford over a TIME poll taken last January, when he led Humphrey, 46% to 40%, with 14% undecided.
Surprisingly, last week’s TIME survey finds that Ford would have a tougher time against Carter than against Humphrey. The President would beat the Georgian, 46% to 38%, with 16% undecided. . . .
Good heavens, this Carter guy can’t even break 40 against the guy who pardoned Nixon?! He’s finished. And as for this two-to-one loser Reagan, he should pack it up for good. No, as I’ve said here before, the important question is not Can Palin win?–the mood swings of the American people must never be underestimated–but Should she be president?