Sarah Palin v. Michele Bachmann

Sarah Palin speaks in Dover, NH
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Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann both rank high in the GOP nomination race. That’s remarkable, given that Sarah Palin is not even running. Yet.

How is Sarah Palin doing?

Sarah Palin in Kuwait

Sarah Palin visits members of the Alaska National Guard on duty in Kuwait. Photo: A Second Hand Conjecture. CC BY 2.0 Generic License.

Sarah Palin has stayed in the Top Ten for the last week and a half. She ranked third in a Public Policy Poll released yesterday. (PPP gathered its data before the New Hampshire debate.) Anthony G. Martin (“The Welshman”) said today that Sarah Palin still cast a shadow over that debate, though she wasn’t in it. But Chris Cilizza of The Washington Post ranked her sixth. (He cited an NBC/WSJ poll giving her 24 percent favorables. But that doesn’t add up next to the PPP poll and other polls.)

The Pucks and Pols blog suggested that Sarah Palin might suffer from any revelation from the 24,000 pages of e-mails released last week. But everyone knows what didn’t happen with those. Even so, P&P ranked her second out of ten.

And how is Michele Bachmann doing?

Michele Bachmann earlier official photo

Michele Bachmann poses before an American flag. Photo: United States House of Representatives

Michele Bachmann announced during the New Hampshire debate that she would run. And on average, she ranks as well as Sarah Palin, if not better. Two findings stand out:

  1. The PPP poll shows Michele Bachmann moving solidly into third place if Sarah Palin does not run. That suggests that the two women are competing for the same class of voters.
  2. Chris Matthews actually paid Michele Bachmann a compliment, though that act probably gave him an ulcer.

Well there’s a woman – a person – not afraid of the mainstream media, no hiding over in Fox land.

Sarah Palin has a contract with Fox News Channel as a “contributor.” If and when she runs for President, that contract will end.

ABC News’ TopLine program ran this segment to assess Michele Bachmann’s chances before the debate took place:

All accounts that appeared after the debate gave Michele Bachmann high marks.

(In an interview on June 16 with Judge Andrew Napolitano, Sarah Palin said, almost off-the-cuff, that Michele Bachmann was qualified to be President.)

Whose votes might these women split?

If Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin both run, they might split the votes of Tea Party and social-conservative voters. The two categories overlap somewhat, but not totally. The Tea Party motto is:

Taxed Enough Already!

So the Tea Party movement will care first about the tax burden, and next about the Constitution and how the government is not obeying it. Social conservatives care about taxes mainly when they become too heavy for a household to pay without putting both adults, and not just the man of the house, to work. Social conservatives might also keep at least some government agencies (but not all, or even most!) that the Tea Party movement would like to abolish.

Do Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin have any differences?

Yes. They are much different in at least one policy area: immigration. NumbersUSA highlights these differences:

  1. Michele Bachmann is clearly opposed to mass legalization. Sarah Palin has spoken hopefully of granting a legal status to thousands of illegal immigrants, though not through an explicit “amnesty” program.
  2. Michele Bachmann has consistently advocated the E-Verify program; Sarah Palin has not.
  3. Michele Bachmann has said that large numbers of immigrants hurt Americans’ job prospects. Sarah Palin has said the opposite.
  4. Michele Bachmann has spoken more consistently in favor of supporting State and local enforcement of immigration law than has Sarah Palin.
  5. Michele Bachmann has supported laws to punish businesses that hire illegal aliens, combat refugee fraud and to end “birthright citizenship.” Sarah Palin has said nothing about any of these issues.

Which one would win?

That’s difficult to say now. Michele Bachmann is definitely in the race to win. But the only thing predictable about Sarah Palin is her unpredictability.

Tellingly, each woman has taken care not to attack the other. These two might surprise everyone by agreeing in advance to run as a team.

Featured image: Sarah Palin speaks at Dover, NH. Photo: Roger H. Goun, CC BY 2.0 Generic License.