First, American Research Group has this poll showing Romney pulling ahead…

Gov. Romney is statistically tied for the lead with 34%. That’s virtually unchanged from 33% in the previous roll.

32% support McCain, unchanged from the last roll, while 12% support Huckabee, a decrease of 2 points from 14% over the same time period. 11% support Giuliani, which is unchanged from the last roll.

Next, Zogby shows McCain growing his lead…

McCain now has 35% support in Florida and stands four points ahead of Romney. The poll, which surveyed 941 likely Republican voters in Florida on Jan. 27-28, 2008, carries a margin for error of +/-3.3 percentage points.

It is the second consecutive day of upward movement for McCain after his campaign won the endorsement from Republican Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. McCain and Romney were tied in the tracking poll released two days ago. The doubts over whether the maverick Arizona senator could succeed in winning over GOP voters in a state where independent voters are not allowed to vote in the GOP primary election appear on the way to being assuaged.

Translation? It’s anybody’s ball game for 1st, and the likelihood that McCain or Romney will deliver a decisive victory is becoming less likely by the hour. It’s about the ground game now, and Romney’s is certainly well heeled. But will that make a difference when you have somebody who’s considered the most electable candidate?

So what about Rudy? If he somehow pulls off a stunner and places a very, very close 3rd is he back in it? The reason this is even a remote possibility is due to the fact that a large number of Floridians have already cast their ballots, and that was before Rudy’s implosion. That’s why my gut tells me that there’s a real possibility he could do better than he’s polling, but ultimately I don’t think that’s going to matter much.

One thing’s for sure, the expectations on Rudy are set extremely low now, so any surprises from his camp could be spun as a “comeback kid” story, even though that meme is unbelievably trite and intellectually dishonest when you place 3rd. But hey, it worked for Bill Clinton!

Here’s what I think tonight will look like:

  1. 1st: John McCain – 34%
  2. 2nd: Mitt Romney – 30%
  3. 3rd: Rudy Giuliani – 20%
  4. 4th: Mike Huckabee – 12%
  5. 5th: Ron Paul – 4%

What are your predictions?

  • Mark

    I think Romney will pull out a win. Most people forget that early voting has been going on for some time now. And in most polls, Romney’s early voting was beating McCain’s early voting by 7-8%. This could potentially put Romney over the top of McCain.

    If McCain wins, his public lying had something to do with it (about Romney’s “timetable” issue).

  • Ron Paul 78%

  • Rob

    Considering the republican options:
    1) Warhawk who knows nothing about the economy.
    2) Flipfloppin’ ex-governor that ran his state into the ground financially and knows nothing about foreign policy.
    3) One-trick pony that can’t even manage an effective campaign.
    4) The foreign and domestic policy challenged next incarnation of jeebus who intends amend the constitution to bend to god’s will.
    5) The racist that wants to cut spending and taxes at a time when the nation is falling into a recession and crumbling under the weight of a war we can’t afford.

    Hrmmmm I’ll still take option 5 thank you very much.

    And when obamalamadingdong wins the dem’s nod, and the elephants figure out who their boy is, I’ll be voting for the empty suit. Considering all the republicans (except Paul) and either of the two dems would be a failure on the domestic front, that leaves us foreign policy.

    And let’s be honest, out of all the candidates obamarama is going to get a long honeymoon period on the international scene. Maybe we can leverage that to our advantage.

  • McCain 31-35%
    Romney 32-36%
    Giuliani 10-14%
    Huckabee 9-13%
    Paul 3-7%

    I think Romney will squeak out win and Giuliani will either quit tonight or ride into Super Duper Tuesday on fumes.