“The latest betting odds for the 2012 presidential election peg President Barack Obama as the favorite. But if the opening odds for the 2008 presidential election are any guide, 2012 could be the year Sarah Palin is elected president.

“President Obama was given 10/1 odds of becoming the next president by Sportsbook.com numbers in early December 2006, identical odds to what Sportsbook now gives Palin for being elected the 45th President of the United States in 2012…

“The favorite for the GOP nomination, according to Bodog.com, is former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, followed immediately by Palin. South Dakota Sen. John Thune and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty are also given reasonable odds at 7/1 and 9/1, respectively, according to Bodog.com figures given to TheDC.”

***
“Romney also has to deal with several bracing realities. He has a tepid favorability rating of 30 percent among conservative voters, according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. He’s an establishment kind of guy in an insurgent kind of party. He has a record on health care reform that would be an easy target in a GOP primary. Most of all, the early states aren’t necessarily his friends.

“That means that winning the Republican nomination next time might require a long, Clinton-versus-Obama-style slog. Under those circumstances, Republicans say, those Maryland or Kansas primary voters could end up being important. It might mean that Romney has to bank on winning states like Georgia and Virginia, where he could be competitive in an otherwise inhospitable region…

“‘He’s using his PAC resources to create and cultivate relationships significantly down the primary calendar,’ said one GOP consultant aligned with a potential Romney rival. ‘My hunch is that the thesis is that if it’s Romney versus someone else, which I think a lot of people think this race will winnow to, he wants to have the financial power and depth of relationships to be a candidate that endures.'”

***
“Obama’s aides say they will most likely set up their re-election campaign around next March, roughly the same as when Bush and Clinton incorporated their incumbent campaign operations. They are more optimistic about 2012 than they are about 2010, believing the Tea Party will re-elect Barack Obama by pulling the Republican nominee to the right. They doubt Sarah Palin will run and figure Mitt Romney cannot get the Republican nomination because he enacted his own health care program in Massachusetts. If they had to guess today, some in the White House say that Obama will find himself running against Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor.”