I’m not as bearish about his chances as most for the reason I gave last night: If, if neither Palin nor Huckabee runs, then Newt could gobble up their social conservative supporters and benefit from a split on the other side among Romney, Pawlenty, and Daniels. It’s unlikely, admittedly, but not impossible. Nate Silver, after running a bunch of statistical polling models, puts his odds at around nine or 10 percent. I wouldn’t go quite that high — five or six feels better — but it ain’t zero. Remember how we all laughed at McCain’s chances during the summer of 2007, when his campaign collapsed financially and those stories started coming out about him having allegedly once considered switching parties? QED.

Speaking of Huckabee jumping in, Paul Bedard of U.S. News and World Report hears things:

Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who leads in several 2012 GOP presidential polls, is stepping up his loose-knit campaign and may decide internally by late June or July if he will enter the race, with August slated as when he would officially announce for his second presidential bid, according to associates…

The timing would put the announcement right before the important Iowa Straw Poll, set for August 13. Four years ago, he came in second behind Mitt Romney, a shock that boosted his campaign and eventually spurred his first place victory in the 2008 Iowa Caucus.

Insiders said that he wants to run and is already forming a preliminary staff of aides and trusted advisers led by his 2008 consigliere Ed Rollins.

Hard to see where Newt finds an opening if Huckabee swoops into Iowa and then the centrist candidates go all-in on New Hampshire. Presumably he’d try to make his last stand in South Carolina, but he’d be a heavy underdog without any victories under his belt by that point. Such is the fate of longshots.

He’ll be on Hannity tonight to launch his campaign in the media. One interesting footnote to the clip: There’s surprisingly little pandering on social issues, even though that’s where his path to the nomination lies. Curious.