I've said before on this blog that it looks like an endorsement from Sarah Palin is the kiss of death in a political race. Nearly every candidate that Palin has endorsed so far in this election year has wound up losing, and that is just in Republican primaries. If a Palin endorsement is that bad in the primaries, you can imagine how bad it will be in November.
It looks like that is still holding true. New Hampshire Republican candidate Kelly Ayotte was holding a nice lead over Paul Hodes in the Public Policy Polling survey last April. She led by a 47 to 40 percentage. But then she got Sarah Palin's endorsement. Now she only holds a 45% to 42% lead (within the margin of error of 3.26%). What makes this look like the Palin endorsement was the critical factor here is that Hodes (a Democrat) did not improve his numbers against any of the other possible Republican candidates -- just Ayotte.
Also, while Hodes' negativity rating has remained constant since April, Ayotte's has shot up from 24% in April to 39% after the Palin endorsement. It turns out that 51% of the New Hampshire voters say a Palin endorsement makes them less likely to support a candidate. When only moderates are considered that number goes up to 65% -- not good when you consider the largest segment of New Hampshire voters are moderate independents.
But you don't have to go to independents or Democrats to find people who don't believe in Sarah Palin. Palin is still being spoken of as a candidate for the presidency in 2012, and she has done nothing to discourage that talk. I think there's little doubt that she would like to run. But the Republicans in New Hampshire don't seem too excited about a Palin candidacy.
Public Policy Polling surveyed the state's Republicans about who they would support for the Republican nomination for president and Palin finished a poor fifth (sixth if you count the undecideds). Here's how it came out:
Mitch Daniels..........1 %
There's still more than a year to go until New Hampshire Republicans have to make that decision for real, but this shows Palin has a lot of work to do if she wants the nomination. No one has ever finished worse than second in New Hampshire and gone on to win the nomination.