GOP Primary: Where We Are, What’s Coming
First things first, here is the current GOP delegate count according to RealClearPolitics:
“Super Tuesday” is February 5, but there are two primaries before then: Florida and Maine. Florida is so important because it is a winner take all contest with 57 delegates up for grabs (it actually has more, but the GOP has penalized the state for moving their primary up in the calendar). Maine has 21 delegates at stake and awards them proportionally, like the previous states have done. Obviously, Florida is a big deal and marks the first time this primary season where a primary is actually as important as the media is playing it up to be. Here is the Real Clear Politics Poll Average for Florida:
It looks like McCain, Romney and Guiliani are all within striking distance of winning (I think we are witnessing the Huckabee Waterloo). If Giuliani can win, he instantly becomes a contender, which has been his strategy all along. If McCain or Romney win, that probably knocks Rudy out and (obviously) strengthens the winner going into Super Tuesday, which has 991 delegates up for grabs (with 373 coming from winner-take-all states).
That being said, there’s a significant likelihood that I’m talking out of my posterior, so Michael Barone might be a better place to go for your primary prognostication!
UPDATE: Now that Fred Thompson has dropped out, there is a solid 8-10% of the GOP electorate now searching for a new candidate. I wonder who will benefit?