For starters, the Fox News commentator did not appear on Hannity’s show to announce that she is mulling a run; she merely responded to the conservative host’s question gauging her interest. As Palin demonstrated throughout her lengthy and highly public 2011 deliberation over whether to run for president, she is adept at fueling speculation and loath to close the door on any possibility that she is not otherwise compelled to discount. If Hannity had asked her if she would ever contemplate running for president in 2016, or for governor in 2014, or perhaps even returning to her old office at Wasilla City Hall, the answer might have been the same: She’d consider it.

The fact is that neither Palin nor any of the aides who run her political action committee have indicated she’s taken any of the steps required to explore a Senate bid. She recently re-signed a contract as an on-air analyst for Fox News after parting ways with the cable channel in January — an indication that she missed playing the role of pundit and ideological watchdog on national television…

Alaska is a notoriously difficult state for pollsters to get a handle on, and recent Palin-related surveys are as scant as the results are mixed. In a May poll conducted by a conservative group called the Tea Party Leadership Fund, Palin held a two-point lead in a hypothetical primary matchup against Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and 2010 GOP Senate nominee Joe Miller (the two declared 2014 Republican Senate candidates).

But in a February survey conducted by the Democratically affiliated Public Policy Polling, Begich had a healthy lead of 54 percent to 38 percent over Palin in a hypothetical general election matchup, and only 34 percent of voters statewide held a positive view of their former governor.