Sarah Palin enjoys a great deal of popularity in many Republican and Tea Party circles. She is less popular in large cities in blue states on both coasts. She is especially unpopular in high-brow intellectual circles, where she is regarded as an intellectual and political lightweight.
Few conservatives inhabit the social science halls of Ivy League universities, small liberal arts colleges, and leading state universities. Even fewer of these support Sarah Palin for president.
The Hoover Institution at Stanford, widely regarded as “conservative” in its leanings (although its fellows gave more to Obama’s campaign in 2008 than to McCain’s) is the only major “conservative” think tank that is an integral part of a leading university. Hoover fellows have Stanford ID cards which identify them simply as Faculty/Staff; the IDs do not specify department, school, or institute affiliation.
Several of my colleagues, normally conservative in outlook and Republican in party affiliation, told me they voted for Obama because they could not bear the idea of Sarah Palin being a heartbeat away from the presidency. They stated that they would not vote Republican if she was the Republican choice for president or vice-president in 2012, no matter who the Democrats select as their candidate. The nomination of Sarah Palin in 2012 would likely bring the historical voting pattern of Hoover fellows, split evenly for Democrats and Republicans, in line with the Stanford faculty, which routinely votes around 80 percent Democrat in presidential elections.