As we note in Epic Journey, Barack Obama used his 2006 Audacity of Hope book tour to explore the possibility of running for president. Sarah Palin is doing something similar.
Look at the states that she is visiting on her book tour. Now look at the state-by-state delegate allocation for the 2012 Republican national convention. (The numbers will shift a bit as a result of the off-year and midterm elections, but the basic pattern will be the same.) The states on her schedule add up to a majority of delegates. Here is the detailed list (I am counting Alaska, which is listed as “possible” and is of course the starting point for any Palin tour.)
New Mexico 22
New York 98
N. Carolina 52
S. Dakota 25
----------1,184 of 2,325
Although it is technically not part of the tour, she will be speaking at next year's Bakersfield Business Conference, a huge event in California, the state with the greatest number of convention delegates. And the people who attend the conference —professionals and owners of small businesses — also happen to be the kind of folks whose financial support would be most helpful to a Republican candidate for president.