A Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll released on Monday confirms one ominous note for Romney and fans to chew on, however — that the more the American public sees of Willard "Mittens" Romney, the less enamored of him they are.
The poll shows that 28 percent of the country looks at Romney favorably, and 39 percent unfavorably (22/38 percent among independents). That's getting into Bob Dole territory circa 1996 (actually worse), when the Republican presidential candidate lost in the general election to Bill Clinton by eight percentage points (Dole was at 35/39 favorable to unfavorable at this juncture that year).
However, the same WSJ poll has Romney with 38 percent support among Republicans, the highest it's been since the campaign began last year.
The state with the largest number of delegates to distribute is Georgia, which looks to be a sure win for native son Newt Gingrich, who it should be said has never run for state office in the Bulldog State.
But the biggest jewel of the bunch is Ohio, which, along with Pennsylvania and Florida, is considered one of the biggest battleground states in November. The latest polls show the race to be dead even.
Another close state in the polls is Tennessee, which is somewhat of a must-have for Santorum tomorrow, but could go either way at this point.
The other state races don't appear to be too sexy: Massachusetts is one of Mitt Romney's five home states, so you can mark that one down for the front-runner; Vermont is next door, so give him that one as well.
In Virginia, only Romney and Ron Paul are on the ballot (leading House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to boldly proclaim that in endorsing Romney, he was also predicting he'd win the Commonwealth).
Oklahoma would figure to be a battle between Gingrich and Santorum, while Idaho, Alaska and North Dakota are hosting caucuses.
A development in the past few days could move some conservative voters away from Romney — the revelation that in June of 2009, he wrote an op-ed in USA Today urging President Obama to copy some of the things he implemented in the Bay State with his signature universal health care law — specifically, using the individual mandate as an incentive for people to buy insurance.
First, we established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance. Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages "free riders" to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others.
If Mitt stumbles on Tuesday, this story could throw some votes his opponents' way. If the story doesn't have traction, maybe that'll indicate that calling for an individual mandate is horrific to conservatives only when it's not one of them (i.e. Newt Gingrich, the Heritage Foundation) promoting such a plan.