Well, it seems we have one example of how toxic Palin is to GOP candidates. The leading GOP candidate for a Senate seat in New Hampshire is Kelly Ayotte, who had a good following with moderates. She recieved and endorsement from Palin and saw her standing among moderates evaporate:
Kelly Ayotte's seen her appeal to moderate voters crumble in the wake of her endorsement by Sarah Palin and her lead over Paul Hodes has shrunk to its lowest level of any public polling in 2010- she has a 45-42 advantage over him, down from 47-40 in an April PPP poll.
There's not much doubt that the shift in the race is all about Ayotte. Hodes' favorability numbers have seen little change over the last three months. Where 32% of voters saw him positively and 39% negatively in April, now 35% have a favorable opinion of him to 40% with an unfavorable one. But Ayotte's seen a dramatic decline. Her favorability spread of 34/24 in April was the best we've measured for any Republican Senate candidate so far this year but her negatives have risen 15 points since that time while her positives have increased only 2 and she now stands at 36/39...
The Palin endorsement may well be playing a role in this. 51% of voters in the state say they're less likely to back a Palin endorsed candidate to only 26% who say that support would make them more inclined to vote for someone. Among moderates that widens to 65% who say a Palin endorsement would turn them off to 14% who it would make more supportive.
It will be interesting to see what will happen in the coming weeks and months when Palin-endorsed candidates will have to face the wider public and not simply the adoring fans of the GOP base. Something tells me my hunches about how Palin will shrink the party instead of grow it will turn out to be correct.