It looks like Romney may well win Florida on Tuesday – he is eight points up there in a poll out today. This won’t kill off Newt, we are almost beyond killer blows in this campaign now. But unless Newt can make it close, it will make things a lot harder for him.
Funnily enough, Newt is still up nine points on Romney nationwide. This suggests one thing to me – that if you outspend your opponent by millions of dollars on attack ads, you can bash people over the head until they vote for you. I am not sure what Newt can do about this, as he still does not have the money Mitt does. The consolation may be that as the frequency of contests increases, Romney will have to spread his resources more thinly. If Newt can hold that lead despite a loss in Florida, he might still prevail in Nevada at least, and take Colorado and Arizona, setting up for a decisive contest on Super Tuesday, March 6th.
Without the constant attack ads, I think Newt has gotten some sympathy. He has had some good TV time, although the debates have not gone so well in this state. People don’t like the GOP establishment attacking him, and Bob Dole’s attack on him, and endorsement of Romney, backfired hugely and probably helped Gingrich.
What might also help is Herman Cain’s endorsement tonight: How much will it help? Not nearly as much as the crown prize – an explicit Sarah Palin endorsement. She’s been defending him all week, but doing her usual tease. With all the folks barracking (no pun intended) for Mitt, this is not on. She needs to come out and give Newt a boost. Newt needs some people on his side with the courage to stand up for him. Lord knows there are enough people on the other side playing scorched earth.