What the Donald's entrance into the GOP race means for Palin.
Remember when Sarah Palin was the most outlandish potential GOP candidate who had significant support among voters? A headline on the blog Conservatives 4 Palin sums up the rapidly shifting campaign landscape: "CNN Poll Shows that Governor Palin Probably Leads If You Take Huckabee, Trump, and Bachmann Out of the Poll." A potential Palin candidacy looks more deflated than ever now that Donald Trump and Michele Bachmann are grabbing all the headlines. They're making Palin look like she's desperate to insert herself into the conversation: She'd largely distanced herself from birtherism until Trump took up the cause, but this week told a Fox News interviewer that while she believes Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, she applauds Trump's newly announced investigation into the whereabouts of the presidential birth certificate.
Meanwhile, from the left, the Palin-isn't-Trig's-mom conspiracy theory has clawed back into the news again. It's probably not going to hurt Palin in the eyes of her base—maybe the opposite, if they see her as unfairly under attack—but it's also an unwelcome distraction from her recent efforts to focus on policy. (She'll attend a Tea Party rally in Madison, Wis., this weekend.) But all around her, rivals are declaring their intentions to run—Rick Santorum's just created a fundraising committee, for instance—and playing coy is beginning to look more like it's coming from a place of uncertainty than from supreme confidence. Even Glenn Beck doesn't think she's going to run anymore, and he knows something about flameouts. The Palin meter limbos lower, to 39 percent.
Previous Palin Meter Readings
Tuesday, April 5, 2011: 43 percent
Monday, March 28, 2011: 49 percent
Wednesday, March 23, 2011: 53 percent
Friday, March 18, 2011: 55 percent
Wednesday, March 16, 2011: 55 percent
Thursday, March 10, 2011: 48 percent
Tuesday, March 8, 2011: 35 percent
Monday, March 7, 2011: 40 percent
Friday, March 3, 2011: 45 percent
Tuesday, March 1, 2011: 51 percent
Noreen Malone is a staff writer for the New Republic.