Katie Pavlich

Sarah Palin is within five points of President Obama in the latest McClatchy-Marist poll:

A new McClatchy-Marist poll finds that Obama looks increasingly vulnerable in next year's election, with a majority of voters believing he'll lose to any Republican, a solid plurality saying they'll definitely vote against him and most potential Republican challengers gaining on him.

Even in potential matchups where he leads, Obama in most cases has lost ground to the Republican.

The biggest gain came for Palin, the former Alaska governor who hasn't yet announced whether she'll jump into the fast-changing race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

After trailing Obama by more than 20 percentage points in polls all year, the new national survey, taken Sept. 13-14, found Palin trailing the president by just 5 points, 49-44 percent. The key reason: She now leads Obama among independents, a sharp turnaround.

Yes you read that correctly, Palin is leading Obama among independents. It looks like voters may have paid attention to Palin's ideas presented in a speech given at tea party rally earlier this month when she slammed crony capitalism and the permanent political class, rather than getting caught up in the superficial arguments about why people don't like her. However, Palin is the one who said, "Polls are for strippers and cross country skiers," so in the end, this may not even matter.

Love her or hate her, Palin does have ideas that resonate with independent voters. If she were to run, Palin would offer unique experience (taking on the political machine in Alaska, taking on the oil companies in Alaska, building a pipeline, etc.) to the current GOP presidential field.

Katie Pavlich

Katie Pavlich is the Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is a New York Times Best Selling author. Her new book Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women, will be published on July 8, 2014.

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Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography