I think that the Republican race has changed very significantly in recent days or over the holiday period as people call it stateside. And I think it has happened as people come to the conclusion that Giuliani isn’t the guy when it comes to facing off against terrorism and that McCain fills that role much better.
Huckabee may well still win Iowa but my personal inclination is that it will be Romney and that win will serve to insulate Romney from too much damage from losing New Hampshire to McCain but Romney being involved in a close finish with McCain will allow McCain the airtime to get his experience and
So the race is now between Romney and McCain, I think Romney will win Iowa but either lose New Hampshire to McCain or that McCain will be so much closer to Romney than expected that he is the one to come out of New Hampshire with more Mo’. Huckabee should win South Carolina but his campaign could implode if he doesn’t do as well as many have come to expect him to do in Iowa. A possible Howard Dean for the ’08 Republicans? Probably not but it is possible.
Giuliani will still win Florida I suspect but not especially convincingly and Super-Duper (and what a mistake that has been for the states that wanted to play a role in deciding who is the nominee) Tuesday will see the departure of Thompson.
Ron Paul isn’t going to bother departing the race as his real aim is to shape the platform (manifesto) at the convention. The winner take all nature of the Republican primary should insulate the party against that but he could still have influence. Huckabee is in large part really running for the VeeP slot though and he could get it from McCain as a means to reassure the religious conservatives. Though I think Romney would have a better claim on the ticket given his likely performance but I wonder if he will view it too much as beneath him still Romney would put Mass in play and some other New England states.