Palin apologizes to supporters, but most never wanted her to run

Sarah Palin went on Fox News Wednesday night to explain her decision not to run for president in 2012 and apologize publicly to her supporters.

"I apologize to those whom are disappointed in this decision," Palin, a Fox contributor, said on "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren." "I've been hearing from them in the last couple of hours. But I believe that they, when they take a step back, will understand why the decision was made and understand that, really, you don't need a title to make a difference in this country. I think that I'm proof of that."

But to judge by recent polling, Palin may have been apologizing to a comparatively empty house. The former Alaska governor, who has been the subject of fervid speculation over her presidential ambitions for months, saw a majority of would-be GOP supporters reject the idea of a Palin bid for the presidency in recent opinion surveys.

Numerous polls showed Palin holding her own in national surveys, with wide name recognition across the political and media world. But most potential supporters didn't actually want her to run in 2012. Seventy-two percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents surveyed by McClatchy-Marist last month said they wouldn't welcome a Palin presidential run. Just 24 percent said they would. Numerous additional polls showed similar results, meaning Palin's decision Wednesday was just what many conservatives wanted--an engaged Palin, but not a candidate Palin.

Just after 6 p.m. ET Wednesday night, Palin finally put an end to speculation around her 2012 plans and announced her decision not to run in a letter to supporters. "I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office -- from the nation's governors to Congressional seats and the Presidency," Palin wrote in the announcement, posted to her Facebook account. Palin last week appeared to be leaning against a 2012 bid, telling a Fox News interviewer that she was concerned that running for president could "shackle" her.

Palin played a major role in the 2010 elections through her political action committee SarahPAC, which boosted tea party and anti-establishment Republicans running for Congress. She has since weighed on in major issues such as the debt limit fight in an effort to put pressure on establishment Republicans in Washington.

"I believe I can be an effective voice in a real decisive role in helping get true public servants elected to office, not just in the presidency, but we have 33 Senate seats coming up. We have a House of Representatives that we need to strengthen in numbers, conservatives who understand that our country has got to get back on the right track economically here, and governors' seats around the nation," Palin said on Fox Wednesday night. "I believe I can be an effective voice for some positive change in these positions."

Want more of our best political stories? Visit The Ticket or connect with us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Other popular Yahoo! News stories:

Herman Cain wrote 113 columns for a birther website

Donald Rumsfeld vs. Al Jazeera (again)

Marco Rubio is just not that into you