PPP’s latest poll:
Other than Santorum’s rise the other big story of this week is Paul’s fall. He was at 24% earlier in the week but has dropped to 20%. That decline in support coincides with a precipitous drop in his favorability numbers. On our last poll he was at +13 (53/40), but that’s gone down 21 points on the margin to -8 (43/51). For all that Paul still has a very decent chance at winning on Tuesday- it just depends on whether his unusual coalition of young voters and non-Republicans really comes out to caucus.
Nate Silver’s electoral model now shows Paul, Romney, and Santorum neck and neck:
It is likely that at least one or two more polls will be released on Monday or even on Tuesday morning, which could provide slightly more clarity. It is indisputable, however, that there are at least three plausible winners of the caucuses. As J. Ann Selzer noted after she conducted The Des Moines Register’s poll, slightly different but entirely reasonable assumptions about turnout could tip the advantage to Mr. Romney, Mr. Paul or Mr. Santorum, as could the choices made by undecided voters.
Charles Franklin’s estimates have Romney ahead:
If Romney does finish 1st, I would expect everyone else to go to South Carolina, except for Paul and Huntsman. Latest Suffolk poll shows huge Romney lead in NH. You can’t stop him in NH so give it to him and move to his most challenging state of the first four.
Ed Kilgore can’t believe Romney’s good luck:
The long and short of it is that an essentially anti-Romney party (defined as its actual voting members, not elected officials, pundits or other elites) has failed either to unite behind or eliminate any of his rivals (with the exception of early casualty Tim Pawlenty).
Bachmann was never going to be the nominee, yet she served Romney by croaking TimPaw’s candidacy and then locking down enough Christian Right support in Iowa to divide its ranks. Cain spectacularly self-destructed. Gingrich built his surge on a combination of debate performance—a fuel that could sustain him only so long as debates were held regularly—and the public’s temporary amnesia about his personal and political history. Ron Paul soaked up oxygen and activists in Iowa, the one and only state where the lay of the land and the nominating contest rules gave him a chance. And Rick Perry has run an amazingly inept campaign that serves to remind us all that high-paid political wizards often don’t know their asses from page eight when the chips are down, and that state-level success is not always transferable to the big stage.