I do not believe for a moment that this is about taking time off to prepare for 2012. Nothing I know about Sarah Palin leads me to believe that she would give up power voluntarily, let alone for something that is such a long shot, and in such a transparently self-destructive way.Personally, I'm closer to the Jesse Taylor position, or lack of a position: "I really have no idea what she thought she was doing, or what she was saying."
There's a point at which somebody acts so weird that you lose the ability to make ordinary assumptions about what they think or want, and every remaining option seems to posit something implausible. Has Sarah Palin tired of politics? Does she think resigning will help her position herself for the presidency in 2012? Does she think resigning will help her promote conservatism from outside the system? Has she formed a desire to go mer-Galt? I really don't know what to say here.
Lots of people speculate that another scandal is in the works. And hey, it could be -- we had a new Palin scandal every other day in September, and I was left with the impression that her closet had more skeletons than the human population of Alaska. But it's rare that Governors face scandals so tremendous that they resign in advance. So I have no idea if it would be something huge, or something that she mistakenly thinks it's huge, or nothing at all.
Also, Emily Thorson's charts are really good. If you look at when the McCain-Palin ticket loses support in 2008, it's at the same time that Palin's approval ratings fall through the floor, even more so than when people get freaked out by the bad economy.