So what does it all mean? In some sense not much has changed in the last 5-6 months. If you look at the handy RCP national poll chart, comparing May/June and the present, what strikes you is that aside from substituting Thompson for McCain in second place the race has remained fairly steady in the national polls. Yes, Huckabee is gaining of late but the basic structure of the race is the same, albeit with a different runner up. To some extent the same is true in the RCP early state poll averages. Romney leads in Iowa and NH but nowhere else. Rudy is a nose ahead in SC(another poll may be out shortly according to Politico) and has significant leads in other states. So the essential question remains the same: Will Romney’s lead in early states hold and give him enough of a bounce to vault him ahead of Rudy in everything that follows? So the more things have changed, the more debates we have had, and after the appearance of Huckabee and Thompson and the tens of millions raised and spent we are back to where we have been all along. And therefore beneath that broader questions are smaller queries: 1) Will Huck get his organizational act together and dent Romney in Iowa ? 2) Has Rudy, still to run TV ads in NH, found in the Granite State an electorate more in tune with his appeal than Romney’s and the chance to knock out his most viable foe? 3) If Hillary sweeps in Iowa and NH do Independents pour into Michigan and Florida, affecting the race in these two early states? All this explains why Romney is in Iowa for three days and Rudy spends the better part of the week in NH.
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