Romney falls to 12% in the latest tracking poll from Rasmussen

“After a great debate performance by all the leading Republicans and Mike Huckabee’s second-place finish at the Values Voter straw poll, Byron York and others are now saying that there’s a ‘five-man race,'” writes the bilious and befuddled David French in an Evangelicals for Mitt post titled IT’S A TWO-MAN RACE, NOT A FIVE-MAN RACE

False. It’s a two-man race. It could be a three-man race if Thompson is able to build a better organization and get more funding, but right now it’s still a two-man show–with Rudy and Governor Romney battling for the lead … etc., etc.

This is the Romney-fantasy wish-fulfullment take on the data.

Here would be a more objective take: “The latest tracking poll from Rasmussen Reports shows the Republican nomination contest tighter than ever, with only an 11% spread from first place to fifth,” writes Jim Addison in a WizBang post titled Poll: GOP race tighter than ever. Addison quotes Rasmussen:

Rudy Giuliani is now supported by 21% while Fred Thompson is the top choice for 19%. Seventeen percent (17%) are undecided while John McCain moves into third place among the candidates with at 14% of the vote. Mitt Romney’s support is back down to 12%, Mike Huckabee reaches double digits for the first time at 10%, and Ron Paul earns the vote from 3%. (see recent daily numbers). The more you look at the numbers, the more you realize how wide open the race has become.

For those who have not yet begun to fight—Giuliani, McCain, Huckabee, Thompson, and Paul—this is both unsurprising and uninteresting news—it is precisely what you would expect. But if you happen to be Willard Milton “I have aired over 10,000 television commercials” Romney, then you have a lot to answer for.

Moral: it should be a 2 man race given Romney’s spending. But: it isn’t. This should give Team Romney grounds to pause and reflect. Consider: the Romney campaign has yet to accomplish even one of the goals it set for itself in that notorious powerpoint: Romney’s right flank remains perilously exposed; Evangelicals and social conservatives remain woefully divided; Romney sags in the national polls; despite Romney’s early leads, Iowa and New Hampshire remain up for grabs etc., etc.

So the Romney’s cling tenaciously to their so-called “early state strategy”—which was never a part of their so-called plan until everything else fell apart!—but this election will play out in ’08, not ’04; the primary calendar has changed.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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