At a recent fundraising dinner of the York County, S.C., Republican Party, party stalwarts told McClatchy Newspapers the former Alaska governor lacks the experience and knowledge to run successfully, let alone govern.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who spoke at the event, appealed to many as "Sarah Palin with a brain," said Gail Moore of Columbia, S.C.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty have also appeared in South Carolina, which has a key early primary.
Palin's "major weakness is that she needs to bone up on how the government works," said Don Long of Lake Wylie. "I don't know if she's done as much of that as she needs to."
"She's not really creative," said Swain Shepperd of Rock Hill. "She just repeats what's already been said by others."
Palin's resignation as governor has also hurt her while Republicans rally around new state chief executives like Chris Christie of New Jersey, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Rick Scott of Florida and Scott Walker of Wisconsin.