We will know more when the votes are cast, of course, and this primary has been anything but predictable. But the near unanimous pounding that Gingrich is taking from the GOP establishment and now even Mittens has clearly left him exhausted and unable to mount a defense.
Apparently Santorum was finally acknowledged to be on stage and unleashed a little whoopass on Mittens over Romneycare. But, alas, too late for Ricky, too late for Newt.
All I really wanted was for this carnival to go on until Super Tuesday. I suppose it still might, even if Romney clears 40% in Florida. But this is the last gasp for Newt, I think. If he can't win the Cracker Belt, he can't win.
By Monday, we will know if the clown car has finally run out of gas. If Romney really did improve his debate game, perhaps he would have benefitted from a longer primary season. If he wins now, I imagine those skills will rust. And he will be dependent on the economy stalling again. And if the horse race is really over, the press can spend the next few months looking into the apparent irregularities in those tax returns. Fun.
It will be interesting to see him be this consistently negative against Obama when they share the stage together. He's throwing red meat to the base in a fairly harmless way that can't be used against him in the general election by making all sorts of outlandish and false statements against Obama now. I don't see how he pulls that off when Obama is standing right next to him, but we'll see.
If Romney wins, keep an eye on his favorability numbers. They are atrocious right now, but they will likely creep upwards as the GOP rallies around him. But it's still possible the far right fringe won't. If so, it will show up there.