A recent Gallup poll showed a wide-open race for the Republican nomination in 2012. Asked to name their preferred candidate, 14 percent of Republicans named Romney; 11 percent said Palin. But 42 percent offered no opinion, and the rest were scattered among a slew of other candidates.
As for the widespread lack of confidence in her ability to be president, one adviser said Palin has time to turn that around if she decides she wants to run in 2012. Another Republican said that if she chooses not to run, she can play an influential role in determining who wins.
For now, she remains the Wasilla-based mother who is rapidly becoming the embodiment of the anger and disenchantment that has been rising since Obama took office. As good as that might make people feel, that is far from a willingness to entrust their futures, and the country's, to her.
"Her challenge is to fill in the substantive blanks in a way that demonstrates that capacity, without losing her uniqueness and her role as provocateur," said Tom Rath, a GOP strategist who has been part of Romney's political team. "Not easy."
More than half of Republicans and two-thirds of independents say that she is not qualified to be president. If she wants to change those numbers, she has to do some tough press interviews and show that she knows her stuff. There is no other way.