The latest data at Nate’s place:
All last week, the chart showed Mittens as the overwhelming favorite in Florida, with a 90-something chance to win. Now that’s gone. almost overnight.
The Florida primary is nine days away, and a lot can happen in nine days. But Romney’s strength (again, this is what Nate said awhile back) is that he was positioned to dominate the early primaries, and that’s not happening. And there aren’t that many primaries in February. A bunch of caucuses, yes, including the ever-entertaining Nevada caucus. There’s a primary in Missouri that won’t award actual delegates.
So after Florida the only “real” primaries are in Arizona and Michigan on February 28, and then there’s super Tuesday on March 6. So one could argue that a big win in Florida could give Newt the “big mo” going into Super Tuesday. At the very least, if Newt wins Florida as decisively as he won South Carolina — still an if, with nine days to go — it ought to cement his status as the Favorite Not-Mittens Candidate, and Santorum and Ron Paul likely would fade away.
Democrats are surely giggly with joy at this development. On the other hand, Newt’s blown it before; he can always blow it again.
Update — speaking of Ron Paul — Rand Son of Ron was detained at the Nashville airport for refusing to be patted down after the body scanner showed an “anomaly.” Y’all can go ahead and have fun guessing what the “anomaly” is; the news story doesn’t say.
Update: More news stories say that Rand Son of Ron was not detained at the Nashville airport, but neither was he allowed to board the plane.