When you add it up, Romney is the frontrunnerJanuary 16, 2008
After Romney's big win last night in Michigan, I did some simple analysis of the first three Republican contests to see how the numbers add up. Even though three different people have won so far, the numbers show that Romney has received the most votes by a large margin (80K more than McCain and 230K more than Huckabee). I also averaged the percentage of the vote they received and Romney wins by 5%.
Here's the vote total and average percentage:
Romney: 443,139 32%
McCain: 361,546 27%
Huckabee: 207,308 20%
Paul: 84,554 8%
Thompson: 50,925 6%
Giuliani: 49,198 8%
I think these numbers are very interesting. First, it shows just how pathetic Giuliani's support has been, considering he was once the favorite. Even the remarkably lackluster Thompson has received more votes. The fact that Paul is well ahead of both of these "credible", "national" candidates is also telling.
Second, Huckabee's support seems much less than his press would indicate and Romney's much more. Though Romney was expected to win Iowa and New Hampshire in addition to Michigan, I believe a case could be made that Romney is the candidate in the best position to win the nomination. Not only does he have the best organization and most money, but the recent shift of attention towards the economy and away from social issues and Iraq/terrorism is a huge help.
South Carolina still presents problems for Romney, but until other candidates start dropping out, the "I'm the alternative to Romney" vote is too spread out (and lackluster) for anyone to knock him out.
If it's Romney vs. Clinton, I'm confident Mayor Bloomberg will run.