Last May, I wrote about Romney’s dreadful inevitability:
To believe that he will not be the nominee, I would have to believe that Romney doesn’t have an overwhelming, built-in advantage in New Hampshire and Nevada, and that he won’t scoop up large numbers of former Giuliani and McCain voters in Florida, where he received 31% last time.
As the Florida approaches next week, I see no reason to amend that. If we look closely at the sources of Romney’s support in Florida, we are seeing a lot of those former McCain and Giuliani voters coming to Romney. According to Rasmussen’s latest poll, Romney leads Gingrich 39-31% overall, but among “somewhat” conservative voters he leads 50-29 and among “other” (moderates) he leads 43-22.
Romney and Gingrich are effectively tied among evangelicals at 32-31%, but Romney has substantial leads among mainline Protestants (50-26%) and Catholics (43-33%). To the extent that there was a religious factor in Gingrich’s South Carolina victory, it does not seem to be repeating itself. Lower-income respondents aren’t flocking to Gingrich as they did in South Carolina: Gingrich loses every income category except the $20-40K, where he ties with Romney at 39%. However, Romney’s advantage with his reliable supporters among wealthier voters is large: he leads Gingrich 45-29% among respondents earning $100K+. Romney also has a 12-point lead among early voters.