Here are the conclusions that Democrat Party pollster Public Policy Polling arrived at in its most recent national poll of likely GOP primary voters:
The talk of a brokered convention never seems to die down and one interesting finding on this poll was that Sarah Palin is far more popular than any of the actual Republican candidates in the race. Her net favorability is +48, with 68% of voters rating her favorably to only 20% with a negative opinion. That compares favorably to +29 for Santorum, +19 for Romney, and -26 for Paul.
Palin is someone GOP delegates might be able to unify around in the case of a hopelessly deadlocked convention. She is seen positively by Gingrich voters (85/7), Santorum supporters (80/10), and Romney ones (57/27) alike. That’s a contrast to Romney who is disliked by both Santorum (38/48) and Gingrich (32/54) voters and Santorum who is disliked by Romney (38/48) voters and only seen narrowly favorably by Gingrich (46/42) backers.
Here are the crosstabs. One thing that stands out to me in this poll is just how well Governor Palin performs among non-evangelicals. The reason why Romney is beating Santorum/Newt is that Santorum and Newt haven’t shown much appeal outside of the South among non-evangelical conservatives. That’s reflected in this national poll as well as Newt and Santorum have net favorable ratings of -11 and +3, respectively, among non-evangelicals while Romney has a net favorable rating of +33. Governor Palin’s net favorable rating among non-evangelicals of +30 is almost the same as Romney’s net favorable rating among non-evangelicals.
The key to beating candidates like Romney is to run up a big lead among evangelicals and hold down his lead among non-evangelicals. It’s pretty clear from this poll that Palin would be doing a much better job than Santorum is in holding down Romney’s lead among non-evangelicals and she’d run the same as, if not better than, Santorum among evangelicals.