James and John, yes Romney certainly has a clearer path than say Thompson at this point, but a couple of things to keep in mind: 1) If you accept that Huckabee could win Iowa (an “if” but a more realistic “if” based on what GOP party folks in Iowa are saying) then lots of candidates have a path to the nomination including McCain (whose likely poor showing there may get lost in the shuffle) and 2) Romney has no what they call in the business world “built in redundancy.” If he loses in Iowa (or perhaps NH for that matter) he is likely done. By contrast, Rudy could lose both, coming in close in NH, make a run at SC and live to fight in Florida. That is just to emphasize that Romney’s path to the nomination is really “he’s got to win Iowa and probably NH.” More than one camp has reminded me that polling in early states gets “real” when everyone is up with ads. We’re getting close as McCain is up in Boston and Thompson is on the air in Iowa and soon will be in SC. When Rudy goes up ( the waiting game has to end soon with only about 60 days left) we’ll see how real the poll numbers are.
UPDATE: An interesting take on why Iowa polling is so hard to do well.
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