Sarah Palin’s numbers aren’t very good in New Hampshire, home to the first-in-the-nation primary.
By Paul Briand, Manchester Examiner
..Sarah Palin isn’t very popular in the Granite State, that much is sure, judging from recent poll results. If the former 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate decides she wants to run for president in 2012 and go totally rogue, would she ever take the calculated risk and skip New Hampshire altogether? Not if she looks at recent history, according to Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. Smith said in an interview today that there has never been a case where a candidate totally blew off New Hampshire — no name on the ballot, no campaigning in the state — then went on to win a party’s nomination. “If you skip New Hampshire you’re done,” said Smith. He points to Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, as the most recent example of someone who paid the price of ignoring Granite Staters. He was on the Republican presidential ballot in 2012 first-in-the-nation primary but didn’t campaign here. He finished fourth with only 9 percent of the vote. “I think he learned his lesson,” said Smith. Back in 1952, Dwight D. Eisenhower was commanding NATO in Europe, and his New Hampshire friends placed his name on the GOP ballot. It wasn’t even widely known what Eisenhower’s party affiliation was then. Eisenhower never came to the state during the primary but went on to beat long-time Republican leader, Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio. It was no accident that New Hampshire Governor Sherman Adams became his Chief of Staff in the White House. Palin’s numbers in New Hampshire to date have been dismal. Smith’s survey center, in a WMUR Granite State Poll last week, showed Palin at 6 percent trailing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (40 percent), Giuliani (10 percent), Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty (7 percent), and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (7 percent). Rounding out the rest of the UNH poll were former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (also 6 percent), Texas Congressman and 2008 candidate Ron Paul (5 percent), businessman Donald Trump (3 percent), former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (1 percent), and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (1 percent). Among the NH GOP, at its annual convention last month, Palin was fourth in the straw poll behind Romney, Paul and Pawlenty. Even among conservatives, at the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this month in Washington, D.C., she polled in the middle of the pack. But the fact that she’s been absent from the Granite State doesn’t surprise Smith too much. He doesn’t believe any of the Tier 1 candidates — Palin, Romney, Huckabee — will get real serious about a presidential candidacy until March. They are engaged, he said, in “the invisible primary” of gauging your campaign cred in the polls, fundraising, and media buzz. The top tier candidates have the political organization and fundraising abilities to get to ground quickly. “They can turn the crank whenever they need to,” said Smith. It’s the press — what Palin likes to call “the lame-stream media” — that would generate a lot of negative buzz should she ignore the Granite State. “It’s the press focus that really makes the difference,” said Smith “The press isn’t going to give her any breaks!”