Is Romney being helped by the Iowa results?

A fascinating dynamic in the polls I cited below is the McCain-Romney numbers and the fact that Romney seems to not have suffered at all from his defeat in Iowa. Quite the contrary, most tracking polls are showing a slow but sure Romney climb in the days since the caucuses. Is this an example of the media and political observers just getting ahead of itself? The whole reason people thought Romney would crash in NH if he lost IA was that he was long considered the favorite and he massively outspent Huckabee. But do the majority of voters who have still to make up their mind know about all of this? Do they realize just how humiliating Thursday's results were for Romney, or do they see that he came in second -- much ahead of McCain -- and give him credit for that. Don't forget that McCain came in fourth, and while he was just a few hundred votes behind Thompson that prevented the NH press from launching into a long praise of the AZ Senator and how admirably he performed while being so out of it.

Another explanation to Romney's climb: Obama's huge momentum (obvious from the kind of bounce he is getting) since his Iowa triumph has McCain in trouble, since independents trying to decide between Obama and McCain are now more likely to vote in the Democratic race. Obama's surge has got to be due at least in part to an increase of the independent vote -- and that could hurting McCain very directly. And add the last factor that Huckabee was never a factor in New Hampshire, so it's not like Romney had to fear from losing to him.

All in all, this gets us to the striking paradox that I certainly would not have predicted a few days ago that Romney does not appear to be hurt at all by his defeat in Iowa and he is still very much in the running. And for similar reasons, I am on the verge of reversing my previously held conviction that Romney would be toast with a second loss on Tuesday. After all, he would have score second-place twice, winning Wyoming in-between. But more on that later.

Update: Yes, obviously McCain is presently ahead. But he was ahead before Iowa voted, and there is no indication that his situation has improved at all since Thursday. Quite the contrary, I find that today's eight polls all have had an improving situation for Romney in the past 48 hours.

Labels: ,