Here’s another reason why it is difficult to take Sarah Palin seriously as a prospective presidential candidate for 2012. Even in Georgia, currently one of the reddest of the red states, she is still trailing President Barack Obama in the polls, albeit by a small margin.
That’s one of the most interesting new findings from a statewide survey conducted by 20/20 Insight, a political consulting firm that recently set up shop in Atlanta. The business was started by Jeff DiSantis, the former executive director of the Georgia Democratic Party who managed Thurbert Baker’s campaign for governor last year.
DiSantis said his new firm has already done some polling work in Iowa, Missouri and Nevada. They conducted an interactive voice response (IVR) poll of 910 registered Georgia voters (792 of them voted in November 2010 and 379 identified themselves as likely Republican primary voters) during the Jan. 24-28 period.
In hypothetical head-to-head matchups between Obama and the leading Republican contenders, Obama finished behind most of the GOP hopefuls: Mitt Romney leads 50-44 percent (when leaners are figured in), Mike Huckabee leads 50-45 percent, and Newt Gingrich leads 47-45 percent. In a head-to-head with Palin, however, Obama was ahead by 47-43 percent.
(Note also that Gingrich, who started his political career in Georgia, did not fare as well with poll respondents as Huckabee and Romney.)
The likely Republican primary voters were asked who their choice would be in next year’s presidential preference primary. The breakdown: Huckabee 19 percent, Gingrich 18 percent, Romney and radio host Herman Cain both at 14 percent, Palin 11 percent, Tim Pawlenty 3 percent, Haley Barbour 2 percent and Mitch Daniels 1 percent.
On some local issues, poll respondents were asked about the recommendations of the Georgia Tax Reform Council (which wants to lower the income tax rate in part by reinstating the state sales tax on groceries): 24 percent support the council’s recommendations and 55 percent oppose.
- Reinstating the sales tax on groceries: 35 percent support, 50 percent oppose.
- Adding the sales tax to services like haircuts and car repairs: 14 percent support, 70 percent oppose.
- Eliminating the state income tax by doubling the sales tax (the “Fair Tax” proposal): 40 percent support, 39 percent oppose.