If Sarah Palin runs for President, then she will win the Republican nomination. The rally she is holding today with Michelle Bachmann is amazing, and Obama-like, in it's size:
More than 10,000 Republican faithful are expected to crowd into the Minneapolis Convention Center on Wednesday when Sarah Palin joins Rep. Michele Bachmann at a fundraiser and rally for Bachmann's re-election bid and the Minnesota state Republican Party.
Anyone who can draw 10,000 people to a rally in Minnesota--in early 2010, no less-- is formidable.
In the specific case of Sarah Palin, it makes her virtually unstoppable.
Huckabee is unlikely to run, and his evangelical / born again base (virtually all Huckabee voters in 2008 were evangelicals) is a lot closer to Sarah Palin than they are to Mitt Romney. So, Palin will likely start ahead in national polls among declared candidates.
Romney's strength in 2008 was in caucuses, which are dominated by dedicated activists. Of the 11 states that Romney won in 2008, three were "home" states (MA, where he was Governor; MI where his father was Governor; and UT for religion), and the other eight were all caucuses. However, Romney isn't going to win many caucuses if he is facing a candidate who can draw 10,000 people to a rally in early 2010, not to mention what is likely a tarnished reputation among Republican activists after the health care fight.
Palin's grassroots strength will provide her with all the funding she needs, and also goes a long way to pre-empting any possible insurgent candidacy against her. This will especially be the case if Ron Paul runs again, since Paul can't win the nomination but would soak up pretty much all of the remaining grassroots energy on the Republican side.
Say what you will about Palin's ability as a campaigner, but if gaffes were going to make her unpopular among Republicans, it would have happened already.
If Sarah Palin runs for President in 2012, I have a difficult time imagining someone else winning the Republican nomination. While this is pretty good news for Democrats, as Palin polls worse against Obama than almost any other Republican (see also PPP polling), it is also pretty scary. A continually weak economy--which is very possible--could actually make her President less than three years from now.