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Poll: Low Favorability Ratings for Sarah Palin

CBS News Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin continues to receive unfavorable ratings from the American public overall, a new CBS News poll shows, though many Republicans do hold a favorable opinion of her.

But even as the former GOP vice presidential candidate continues to build up her persona as a media personality and conservative spokesperson, nearly four in 10 self-identified conservatives say they do not have an opinion of her or know too little about her to have an opinion.

Twenty-four percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Sarah Palin, while 38 percent view her unfavorably, according to the poll, conducted March 29 through April 1. Thirty-seven percent of the public is undecided or hasn't heard enough to offer an opinion. Her ratings have held fairly steady over the past year.

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Only 7 percent of Democrats say they have a favorable view of Palin and 59 percent have a negative view. By contrast, 43 percent of Republicans have a positive view of Palin and 16 percent have a negative view.

Palin has become a sort of spokesperson for the conservative Tea Party movement. She gave the keynote speech at the first National Tea Party convention this year, and she kicked off a national Tea Party bus tour last month.

Still, 39 percent of conservatives said they were undecided or hadn't heard enough to have an opinion of Palin, compared with 36 percent who had a favorable view and 23 percent who said they had an unfavorable view of her.

College graduates were also among the demographic groups likely to have a negative view of Palin, the poll found: 52 percent of Americans with a college degree said they had an unfavorable opinion, while 33 percent of those without a degree had an unfavorable opinion. Among both groups, 24 percent had a favorable view.

Geography has some impact, too. While the former Alaska governor receives net negative ratings across all regions of the country, she gets her highest favorable rating from Americans living in the Midwest at 31 percent; her lowest comes from those residing in the Northeast at 18 percent. Men and women have similarly unfavorable views of Sarah Palin.

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This poll was conducted among a random sample of 858 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone March 29-April 1, 2010. Phone numbers were dialed from random digit dial samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.
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