Patrick’s post below notes that everyone’s got a story to tell about how they could win, but Romney’s second in Iowa, first in New Hampshire, ahead in Wyoming, ahead among Republicans in Michigan, and a close second in Florida.
Romney picked up the endorsement of National Review this week, and today announced Judge Bork’s endorsement. Romney sits down opposite Tim Russert tomorrow with cash, organization, first or second standing in all of the early primaries, endorsed this week by two of the biggest names in the conservative movement.
Nothing is certain in politics, but Romney is holding the strongest hand by far as the Christmas season largely pushes politics from voter’s attention until January 3.
Looking back at 2007, Romney played the long campaign best of all of the candidates.
To dispute Patrick’s analysis of Rudy’s woes just a bit, my guess is that Romney’s voters overwhelmingly favor Rudy as their second choice. (Any pointers to polling on this would be useful, especially in Florida where Rudy will first benefit if Mitt falters.) Either Romney’s strategy of momentum plays out and he enters Florida with the best January record, or the GOP regroups and settles on Rudy.
There is no way John McCain will ever recover the trust of the GOP. The boomlet in New Hampshire and Michigan reflects those primaries openness to independents, but you can’t win the nomination without the base, and Senator McCain alienated it with McCain-Feingold, angered it with the Gang of 14, and permanently split with it over the September 2006 derailment of the Senate GOP’s plans on a number of fronts and then the McCain-Kennedy attempted jam down on immigration reform. The trouble with pundits pumping Senator McCain is that they don’t remember what GOP voters remember, and they remember that Senator McCain –always steadfast on the war– was a maverick on everything else.