You thought it was too early for the 2012 presidential campaign to start? Worry not -- the Des Moines Register has a poll of the state's Republicans, testing their feelings about potential GOP nominees. They tell us that "62 percent of Republicans who identified themselves as likely to vote in this week's primary election are very or mostly favorable toward [Mitt] Romney. [Sarah] Palin follows, with 58 percent very or mostly favorable about her, with [Newt] Gingrich at 56 percent." Nothing too alarming there -- before the campaign begins, it's mostly about name recognition. However, the story doesn't comment on the unfavorable numbers. Who wins there?
Hands down, it's Palin: 39 percent of Iowa Republicans have an unfavorable view of her. This is somewhat surprising given that Iowa Republicans are a socially conservative bunch, and you'd think they'd be Palin's base. Two years ago they gave Rev. Mike Huckabee the win over Romney and the rest. Pat Robertson -- to whom God regularly speaks personally, sharing His outrage over homosexuality -- came in a strong second there in 1988, behind Bob Dole but ahead of eventual nominee George H.W. Bush.
So why do two out of every five Iowa Republicans dislike Sarah Palin? I guess when she starts campaigning there, we'll find out.
-- Paul Waldman