There is no doubt that McCain’s win in Florida was big. The state was hotly contested and his 5% margin was convincing. I do not mean to sound like on of our other writers, who we understand will be taking a few days off to “adjust his attitude”, but there is one interesting thing I noted in the Florida numbers. The top Republican vote getter is still in the mid-30s. With 7 candidates in the race at the time McCain won New Hampshire with 37% of the vote. Eleven days latter McCain scored another big win in South Carolina with 33% of the vote. Yesterday, with 5 candidates in the race, McCain won Florida with 36% of the vote. That is 1% less than he won on January 8 with two more candidates in the primary.
I am not predicting that someone besides McCain will win the nomination. Rather I am pointing out that while McCain is clearly the frontrunner he has a little more work to do before he locks up the nomination. Giuliani has all but withdrawn and endorsed McCain. Interestingly Huckabee looks like he is staying in. He is ahead in several Southern states and knows how to operate without much money.
The big question is where does Romney go from here. He has a few safe states on February 5th. Does he pour in the funds to compete in other states? At one time we thought Arizona might have been competitive. At this point, with winner take all, I would not spend much money on the state. That leaves some states like California with a winner take all by district and other western and mid-west states with caucus meetings. The primary is not over but it is getting there slowly.