By Sheldon Alberts
WASHINGTON — Sarah Palin. In Iowa. Can a presidential campaign be far behind?
Fuelling speculation she is more seriously weighing a 2012 White House bid, Palin will be in Des Moines on Friday night to deliver a keynote address at the Iowa Republican Party's annual Ronald Reagan dinner.
The appearance at the Iowa GOP's biggest annual fundraiser ranks as something of a coup in national Republican politics. It marks an opportunity for the former Alaska governor to test her support in the state that will hold its first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses in just 16 months. . .
Nationally, 40 per cent of Republicans believed Palin would make an effective president, according to results of a poll conducted last month for 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair.
"She is playing the role of kingmaker (in the Republican primaries). She can move people to look at a candidate that voters might not otherwise have noticed," says Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "But that doesn't mean she is necessarily a strong candidate for president."
Jillson is in the camp of political analysts who believe Palin is unlikely to run for president in 2012.
"I don't see much sign that she is building a classic political organization in the sense of having a lot of policy people, a lot of fundraising people, a lot of event management people," Jillson says.
"She is determined to be as visible a public figure as possible, holding open the possibility of a presidential run. It's a way to drive up book sales and speaking fees. She is, at this point, Palin Inc."
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