I have to give some credit to the Daily Kos pollster for bringing up this point:
The most popular of the Republican candidates, as measured by favorability rating, is Palin at 62/27. The big question with her poor horse race performance is this- are people not supporting her because they don’t think she’s Presidential material, even if they personally like her? Or is her low support because people don’t think she’s running? If it’s the former her prospects aren’t very good but if it’s the latter and she does end up entering the race there could be an immediate, significant improvement in her numbers.
It’s clearly the latter. If Republicans didn’t believe Governor Palin was presidential material, she wouldn’t be leading the field in terms of net favorability among primary voters in pretty much every state even after the New Hampshire debate. Mitt “peacetime” Romney has seen his net favorability among primary voters decline during this period whereas Bachmann’s net favorable rating hasn’t matched Palin’s in any state post-debate among primary voters. The only plausible explanation (other than this possibility) is that nearly everyone has become convinced that she isn’t running.
Here are the following margins in terms of net favorability among primary voters in each state that the Daily Kos pollster has polled post-New Hampshire debate:
Florida: Palin +4 on Bachmann, Palin +14 on Romney
Oregon: Palin +6 on Bachmann, Palin +17 on Romney
Montana: Palin +26 on Bachmann, Palin +37 on Romney
New Mexico: Palin +9 on Bachmann, Palin +16 on Romney
So on average, Governor Palin’s net favorability among primary voters is around eleven and twenty-one points better than Republican Party hacks Bachmann and Romney, respectively.