Nate Silver offers the prognosis:
For starters, I'd somewhat dispute Tom's unspoken assumption that Palin is liable to be looking at this decision through such a narrowly rational prism. Was quitting the Alaska governorship -- particularly in the sudden and disorganized way that Palin did it -- a decision characteristic of someone who carefully ponders all the facts and circumstances before jumping to a conclusion? Not hardly. Palin is impulsive, impatient, ambitious, thrill-seeking: not the type of politician to prudently wait for a better moment.
Add on to that painfully, painfully unself-aware. Thinking about Sarah Palin in 2012, makes me think back to being a kid when all your friends, after school, would pump your head up, in hopes of getting you to step to some big-ass Walbrook Junction kid, who'd failed eighth grade twice. You'd end up getting your feelings hurt--and your Starter snatched.
There are people pumping up Sarah's head, and she's just ig'nant to take the bait. She will run in 2012--and get destroyed in the primary. She needs to talk to Ziggy Sobtka. It all ends with her stranded up on one of those cans...