Drum sizes up the presidential field:
So to summarize: we've got Romney, who's the obvious frontrunner but also a transparent panderer who has some serious problems with the Republican base (RomneyCare, he's Mormon); a couple of decent but faceless midwesterners; [Haley Barbour] a smart tactician who unfortunately resembles Boss Hogg far too much to be electable; and three bomb throwing social conservatives. I guess somebody has to win the nomination, but it's sure hard to see it being any of these folks (though I know plenty of people disagree with me about Palin's electability).
Frum cheers Romney's early lead:
[T]he interesting background to the poll is the structure of Romney preference: While Palin, Gingrich, and Huckabee divide the votes of conservatives (with further competition perhaps to come from other entrants to the race), Romney holds a big and uncontested lead among party moderates.
Yes, they exist. And it turns out: they matter.
This Zogby poll, which shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (!) in the lead, demonstrates just how flimsy these early polls are. John Zogby's understanding of the result:
Support for Christie shows that some Republican voters may be looking for a new face and believe that neither Palin nor Romney can defeat Barack Obama.
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