James, his “lead” in Rasmussen disappeared today and every other poll as you note shows him trailing by between 2 and 12 pts. The press coverage has been brutal –and not just here — but I think nothing talks louder than cold hard cash in politics. The October 15 fundraising number will give some sense of how many GOP donors were holding out for him and how many think Thompson is the guy. I try not to be cynical but many people doing this far longer than I say no matter what people say and no matter what the press coverage 90% of this is money and organization. For now, the only two with both of those are Rudy and Romney.
All that said, to some extent I do buy the Romney camp argument that you need to look at state polls since we don’t have a national primary. Thompson is nowhere near the lead in NH or Iowa but polling is far more mixed in SC and Florida (in the RCP average Rudy has a good lead but the polls are extremely erratic). In Michigan which I think may be the most decisive state, Rudy leads in the latest poll but some others have shown Romney in the lead. In short among the pre-February 5 states Thompson leads, and just barely, in the RCP averages only in SC.
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