Mr. Gingich had a particular bad week in the Midwest and Far West and lost about 75 delegates in those two regions. His total loss since the start of the weekend was almost 100 and he sits at 1205. Not a meltdown by any stretch, but a sign that he is starting to slip a bit. Mr. Romney had a particularly good week in the Midwest, gaining 2 points. Michigan is again much more firmly in the Romney column, Wisconsin has also tipped slightly into the Romney camp and he has closed the gap in Iowa. On the other hand, Mr. Romney is flat in the South since the start of last weekend according to state polls and a few regional polls released. He gains 75 delegates to sit at 622. Dr. Paul gains a few delegates to sit at 116. Because of his Southern Strength, Mr. Perry only loses half a dozen delegates to maintain fourth place in the delegate count at 82. Mrs. Bachmann and Mr. Santorum each rise slightly to sit at 65 and 28 delegate respectively.
With both sides claiming victory, more dust must settle before we see the full effect of the recent Iowa debates. Last night Mr. Romney made up for his bet gaffe by giving an excellent answer on abortion. Mr. Gingrich had a few good and bad moment in each debate, but who knows yet how that might effect his standing. We are kind of in an interesting situation where Gallup, arguably one of if not the best polling company showing a race that is tightening, but most other polling companies do not see this tightening beyond the margin of error. So the truth is somewhere in the middle. While Mr. Gingrich still leads, either Mr. Gingrich or Mr. Romney could be the nominee. The Other candidates do not have a realistic chance of becoming the nominee, but together with the Undecided voters, those who support minor candidates will eventually decided the winner with or without a brokerage convention. In order for there to be a brokerage convention, there will most likely have to be a rather strong third place candidate since most minor candidates will eventually drop out of the race well before June. Right now, Dr. Paul would probably not get any delegates in a third of all the states and in the two thirds of the states where he does have delegates, he does not have many. This is because he falls short of the threshold in many states.
To one degree or another, the early states will help set the tone for the nomination race. While Mr. Gingrich’s national slip is still somewhat debatable, it is clear he is slipping in Iowa. A week ago, Mr. Gingrich’ lead in Iowa was at least 12 points; it is now cut to less than 7. I will probably have to look a bit more closely at my state models as we get closer. Meanwhile in New Hampshire, While Mr. Romney still leads comfortably; his current 15 point lead was a bit over 16 last weeks. Certainly not a big slip, but we shall see how the cookie crumbles. As for Dr. Paul, he has gained more than a point in Iowa over the past few weeks and over 2 points in NH over the past few weeks. So we will see if Dr. Paul’s ground game will live up to the expectation game. As for South Carolina, the Governor’s endorsement of Mr. Romney should help him beat expectations there. So the fun begins after Christmas.
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