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Speculation Continues About Palin's Political Future

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin stops in the Cattle Tent as she visits at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, August 12, 2011

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin stops in the Cattle Tent as she visits at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, August 12, 2011

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin addresses a Tea Party rally in Iowa on Saturday and political supporters and rivals alike will be listening closely for any indication that she has decided to run for president.

For months now, Sarah Palin has said she is considering a presidential run next year, but so far has yet to decide. Palin has told interviewers she would probably have to decide by late September, and political analysts will be keeping a close eye on this week's Tea Party gathering in Iowa, at which Palin is the featured speaker.

Palin's political action committee released a two-minute video based on her recent trip to Iowa that has increased speculation she is about to enter the race for the Republican Party's presidential nomination.

"I think we are seeing a great awakening of the American public, the individual Americans who want the exceptional-ism put back into our country," said Palin.

Palin was the Republican Party's vice presidential candidate in 2008 and quickly developed an enthusiastic following among social conservative voters and supporters of the small-government Tea Party movement.

But Palin has been overshadowed this year by presidential contenders like Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has jumped to the top of the Republican field in recent public-opinion polls.

A top political adviser to former President George W. Bush, Karl Rove, told Fox News that Palin should decide soon if she wants to be a candidate for the White House in 2012.

"Her difficulty is that if she does not get in shortly after next week then I think people are going to basically say, 'She is not in, she will not be in, and if she gets in I am not going to be for her.' You can only tease so many times in the political process and I think she is getting to the end of that," said Rove.

Perry, Bachmann and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney appear to be the top choices for Republicans at the moment. But Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels says there is always room for additional candidates.

"My own view has been that although I like all those folks, there is something to like about each one of them, this is a more the merrier situation and that is why we have an extended nomination process," said Daniels.

Supporters had urged Daniels to enter the race earlier this year, but he declined and said he did not want to put his family through the ordeal of a presidential campaign.

Palin has been a political lightening rod since she was chosen as Republican nominee John McCain's running mate in 2008.

Palin gets high ratings from conservative voters, but remains unpopular with centrists and Democrats, says Quinnipiac University pollster Peter Brown.

"Let us be clear," said Brown. "Ms. Palin has very strong support among Republican voters. The problem is that in a general election she does particularly not well among independent voters and will obviously not do well among Democrats."

The latest CNN-ORC Poll found Rick Perry leading the Republican field with 27-percent support, followed by Mitt Romney at 14 percent. Sarah Palin was in third place with 10 percent, followed by Michele Bachmann at nine percent.

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    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.