The final thing that cannot be discounted is the gone-rogue factor. Palin demonstrably delights in zagging when all conventional wisdom tells her to zig. (Maybe you should pitch Slate, Sarah?) Perversely, being told by the media, conservative intellectuals, and party higher-ups she cannot win and so should not be a spoiler might goad her into doing just that. Which means that, as a general rule, a bad week for Sarah Palin in the press won't necessarily translate into a dip on the WOTWH meter.
This Week's Verdict:
In the end, it all comes down to how strongly Palin craves the limelight. Right now, she's the most closely watched Republican pol. She risks that status without a campaign—the media will obsess over the candidates, and perhaps inevitably her celebrity will erode (and with it, her speaking fees). It strikes us as very possible that Palin sees a clearly unwinnable race but enters it anyhow, to maintain her personal brand and to collect fodder for another book. So we start the meter at 51 percent: Palin seems slightly more likely than not to run.