In the latest Strategic Vision poll Romney sports a 13 pt. lead over Rudy with Thompson in third. Does Romney have a lock on the state? Probably but the magnitude of his win and who places second and third may determine what follows. Romney has spent days and days, held hundreds of events and plunked down a wad of cash both for Ames straw poll efforts and paid media. He has been rewarded with a hefty lead in polls. Now is the bar set high so a 5-7 pt win in January looks like a moral victory for someone else? Romney will argue a win is a win but much of the primary game is managing and beating expectations. As for the rest, Rudy and Thompson would of course love to win but barring a meltdown by Romney they are look for the "place" and "show" so that they avoid the embarrassment of finishing behind McCain or Huckabee. One final thought: if Iowa is Saturday January 5 and NH is Tuesday January 8 is there time for a bounce? Doesn't the Iowa result get dwarfed by and forgotten after the NH result?
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