Why isn't Palin in Iowa?

“My first point would simply be that it’s a little bit early,” Covington told AOL News. Palin, he said, might be pursing a novel strategy that takes advantage of her new media bona fides.

“I could imagine [a candidate] saying that my physical presence in the state is less important than having a Web presence. If I can mobilize and activate people in Iowa through the Internet, then why do I need to bother to come to Iowa?” Covington said, referring to Palin’s massive online following and her direct channel to supporters via social-media networks.

“She could become very active here in Iowa in the near future, or she might have another plan,” he said.

On the other hand, Covington said, there are disadvantages to getting into Iowa too early. “It does nobody any good to peak early,” he said. Candidates risk becoming “old news” if they spend too much time in state, and they must try “to peak at the right time in Iowa,” he noted.

Iowa State professor and Iowa politics watcher Steffen Schmidt agreed that it’s still too early to make much of Palin’s travel plans.