This Week in Fake Presidential Candidates

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Hey, did you hear who's maybe running for president? Everyone. At least that's seemingly what each and every Republican politician wants us to think these days. And why not? Just say you're "thinking about it" or "keeping your options open," and the media will suddenly lavish attention on you as if you really matter. But not everybody does. Each Friday until the primaries truly begin, we'll look at which of these prospective candidates are more likely or less likely to actually enter the race, along with a prediction of the likelihood that they'll throw their hat into the ring. Excluded from this rigorous scientific analysis: any candidate we're pretty sure is definitely going to run or have already announced — guys like Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Gary Johnson, and, most recently, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty

  • Herman Cain

  • 93%

With a "debate" "win" as motivation, Cain will make a "major announcement" on May 21 at Atlanta Olympic Centennial Park. Cain would only say, "Do you think I'm going to be making a big deal out of this to announce that I'm not going to run?" So, yes, he's going to run.

Photo: Steve Pope/Getty

  • Rick Santorum

  • 90%

"I'm sort of used to being discounted and ignored and underestimated," Santorum said this week. Good! That is probably going to happen again.

Photo: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty

  • Jon Huntsman

  • 79%

He's spending five days in New Hampshire next week, but an even better sign that he's running is his change of heart about "cap and trade," which he used to champion as Utah's governor.

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty

  • Michele Bachmann

  • 76%

In a fund-raising pitch, Bachmann is polling her followers about whether she should stay in Congress or run for president. Looking for an out, maybe?

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty

  • Mitch Daniels

  • 58%

Daniels seems increasingly likely to jump into the race, with only his wife's approval holding him back. And his wife has been getting calls and encouragement from Laura Bush, the nicest lady ever.

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

  • Donald Trump

  • 40%

Trump has reportedly been offered $60 million to keep doing The Apprentice, which has to be a lot more alluring than a doomed presidential run.

Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty

  • Sarah Palin

  • 23%

We're going to say Huckabee's likely exit from the race (see: Mike Huckabee) makes Palin slightly more inclined to run, but she still won't if she has any sense (an open question).

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

  • Buddy Roemer

  • 22%

To be completely honest, Roemer may have already announced that he's not running, but nobody noticed.

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

  • Mike Huckabee

  • 18%

Huckabee will announce a decision this weekend, but his closest adviser seems pretty sure that he's not going to run.

Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty

  • Rudy Giuliani

  • 7%

Giuliani says that he'll "probably be talked into" running if it turns out he's "the best one" to beat Obama in 2012, which he won't be, and isn't.

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty

  • John Bolton

  • 0.4%

John Bolton participated in a debate this week ... between himself and his walrus mustache, about whether to eat a pickle. The mustache won and the pickle was eaten.