Where Romney deserves credit is that he has managed to do all the right things to keep himself in the top tier. That’s not the faint praise it at first sounds like. He is the least well known of the top-tier candidates, he has the fewest past election wins, and he has another better known candidate (Fred Thompson) making a play for the same group of voters he is trying to appeal to.
So his early state strategy has produced leads in Iowa and New Hampshire, along with a win in the Ames straw poll. The big test for Romney will be whether he can maintain a lead in a race where another candidate is devoting comparable resources. Romney has yet to win anything that he hasn’t, in a manner of speaking, bought. And even then, when you look at yesterday’s results or the CPAC straw poll earlier this year, he doesn’t exactly clear the field of competition.