So Mike Huckabee isn’t running for president in 2012.

Not, to be sure, a huge surprise; unlike, say, Haley Barbour or even Sarah Palin, Huck never really acted much like a candidate this time around. But it’s a big deal, regardless, since he certainly would have been a serious contender if he got in.

Quick update on the field. Since I first said that I counted only eight plausible GOP nominees (about six weeks ago), two of those have been scratched off the list: Barbour, and Huck.

That leaves two plausible nominees who are actively running (Romney and Pawlenty); two who have sort of run, but haven’t committed (Daniels and Palin); and two who have stayed completely out and say they’re out, but who I believe would still be plausible if they jumped in very late (Perry and Jeb Bush). I think the big question at this point is how long the window remains open for those last four. June 1? August 1? Surely not later than that? Or has it already passed? Note that it’s the kind of deadline that depends on the (potential) candidate — it has to do with how long it would take candidates to raise the resources (money, staff, endorsements, name recognition, the inclination of the press to take them seriously) necessary for winning.

At this point, I’m not going to scratch anyone else off my list, but I’m certainly open to arguments that I’m overrating the chances of Daniels, Palin, Perry, and Bush if they decided now to get in all the way. And, just to be clear: I’m not predicting anything about those four one way or another. As far as I know, Jeb and Perry are out, end of story. All I’m saying is that if they wake up tomorrow and suddenly want to run that they would be alive, while in my view no one else could make that claim.

Oh, and for what it’s worth…the six people I consider plausible nominees now have a combined 60% of the Intrade market, down from the 72% (for eight candidates) when I first looked at it back in March. Since I believe those six have at least a 90% chance at the nomination, and perhaps as high as 98%…well, either Intrade junkies are nuts or I am.

[Cross-posted at A plain blog about politics]

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Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist who writes about American politics, especially the presidency, Congress, parties, and elections.