If Sarah Palin is indeed planning to run for president, she received some heartening news Thursday.
A new Gallup poll indicates that she is competitive with the early Republican front-runner, Mitt Romney, and ahead of the scrum of other candidates that currently make up the GOP presidential field.
According to a survey of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, Romney (17%) and Palin (15%) outpace the rest of the competition. The poll is one of the first since Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and real estate magnate and reality-TV star Donald Trump all declared they would not pursue the GOP nomination.
Libertarian Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich trailed at 10% and 9%, respectively. And what has to be jarring to Tim Pawlenty-watchers, ex-pizza executive Herman Cain came ahead of the former Minnesota governor by a 2-point margin, 8 % to 6 %. Cain has become popular with "tea party" conservatives.
Among other contenders were Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota (5%) and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (2%).
But the most notable number in the poll may be this one: 22% of those surveyed said they did not yet have a preference.
If Palin were not to run, Romney’s support jumps to 19%, Gallup said.
Palin’s plans have become the subject of recent and furious speculation following reports that she and husband Todd have purchased an 8,000-square-foot house in Scottsdale, Ariz., for about $1.7 million -- a place that could be used as a national campaign base. (Good thing TLC's “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” was canceled, or that could be awkward.)
The purchase comes at the same time as news of a film documenting Palin’s political rise, which is scheduled to be premiered in Iowa next month, followed by a national release and showings in other early primary states -- an indication, perhaps, that the former Alaska governor is hoping to “reintroduce” herself to the American electorate with a new focus on her political successes.
Fox News Channel's "Hannity" showed a clip from the upcoming Palin film. Watch it below: