Sarah Palin Losing Popularity, Problems for Political Future

In challenges to her cross-border appeal, her "strong" favorability among Republicans, 41 percent, is surpassed by her strongly unfavorable rating from Democrats, 56 percent. And independents see her strongly negatively rather than strongly positively by nearly 2-1.

Ideology tells a similar tale; 61 percent of conservatives see Palin favorably, compared with 30 percent of moderates and 18 percent of liberals. Her sharpest drop is among moderates: Fifty-eight percent saw her favorably just after she joined John McCain on the GOP ticket.

But Palin also has lost ground in her core groups. Her favorability rating from Republicans is 18 points below her peak last Sept. 7; her "strongly" favorable rating in her own party is down by 25 points. She's had a similar decline among conservatives.

Similarly, the sense that Palin "understands complex issues" has dropped by 19 points among Republicans (from 75 percent last fall to 56 percent now) and by 14 points among conservatives (from 67 to 53 percent).

While she's one of the country's more prominent female politicians, there's little or no overall gender gap in views of Palin; 54 percent of women and a similar 52 percent of men see her unfavorably overall. But on two attributes there is a gender difference within her own party: Seventy-two percent of Republican women call her a strong leader, compared with 59 percent of Republican men. And among Republican women 64 percent think Palin understands complex issues. Among Republican men, just 48 percent agree.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone July 15-18, 2009, among a random national sample of 1,001 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results for the full sample have a 3.5-point error margin. Click click here for a detailed description of sampling error. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Pa.

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