Gallup: Republican candidate with highest "positive intensity" score is Herman Cain

I was tempted to lead with the news about Trump reportedly considering an independent bid, but — enough. Enough.

This is actually a pretty good poll for Palin, I think:

She’s got the highest name recognition in the field and the highest positive intensity score save for Cain and Bachmann, both of whom are far lesser known and who haven’t really been attacked yet. Then again, her positive intensity is only a few points higher than Tim Pawlenty’s, who’s far, far more obscure than she is yet building grassroots goodwill by the day. The takeaway: She could still make a splash, but Cain’s and Bachmann’s P.I. scores are so much higher that they’d be genuine threats to pull the upset in Iowa if she got in late and they continued to raise their profiles. Then again, I’ve read several pieces over the last few months about how Iowans are worried they’re becoming a boutique social-con stronghold where major players like Romney might not even deign to compete in the future. In order to maintain their influence, they have to keep producing winners who are capable of going all the way and winning the nomination. Cain and Bachmann probably aren’t capable, but Palin is — which makes me wonder if there wouldn’t be a late break away from C & B and towards her if she jumped in late, just on viability grounds.

Speaking of getting in late, a trenchant point from Chris Cillizza:

The FDU poll released Tuesday morning painted a tough picture for Christie. Forty-four percent of those tested approved of the job he was doing while 44 percent disapproved. (Just a month ago, Christie had a 51 percent job approval rating in the FDU poll.) Christie’s unfavorable rating stood at 45 percent in the new FDU poll and a majority (55 percent) of voters said the state is headed off on the wrong track…

Whether or not you put much stock in polling, the history of Republicans winning statewide race in New Jersey isn’t terribly encouraging for Christie’s chances…

Democrats are well aware of the state’s voting patterns and are already beginning to circle the governor’s race. Booker, the African American mayor of Newark, is seen as rising star nationally and is expected to make the leap to a statewide race either against Christie in 2013 or for a Senate seat if Frank Lautenberg (D) retires in 2014.

Losing the next gubernatorial race wouldn’t necessarily be fatal to his chances in 2016. Nixon famously lost his bid for California governor in 1962 — but then Nixon had already been vice president for eight years at that point. If Christie loses in 2013, he’s out of office with just four years’ experience and destined to face heavyweights in 2016 like Rubio, Ryan, and Jeb Bush. (Palin is in a similar position.) If his polls look even dimmer next month, is it now or never?