It’s official—or at least as official as polls taken 14 or so months before the election: There’s a new sheriff in town. According to Gallup, Rick Perry has unseated Mitt Romney as the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.

Perry’s rise hasn’t been terribly surprising. Conservatives have been casting about for a champion to counter Romney for months. For a long stretch earlier in the year, Sarah Palin was viewed as a leading contender for that slot. But as she has played Hamlet-on-the-tundra and made the rounds on Fox News evening lineup, first Michele Bachmann, and then Perry came along to try to assume the mantle.With Perry surging, it’s only natural to ask what his early success means for Palin. She is nearing what she he termed her deadline for making a decision on a presidential bid.