The uncertainty and excitement are gone ahead of tomorrow’s Republican primary in Florida. All opinion polls have Mitt Romney in the lead, some by as much as 20 percent, and political statistician Nate Silver on his blog FiveThirtyEight writes that Romney has 97 percent chance of winning and is expected to capture nearly 45 percent of the vote.
So, a big victory for Romney, according to Silver, well ahead of Newt Gingrich’s 29 percent, Rick Santorum’s 13 percent, and Ron Paul’s 11 percent.
If Silver’s predictions come true, Gingrich will have serious difficulties to continue his campaign. He is already short of money and a big loss in Florida will make it much more difficult to raise more funds, while the situation for Romney would be the exact opposite.
Romney is also the favorite in most of the contests in February — in Nevada and Arizona because of their substantial Mormon populations, and in Michigan because Romney was born there and his father was once its governor.
The road ahead for Gingrich after the expected loss in Florida tomorrow is not easy. However, he has already said he intends to continue until the party convention in Tampa, Florida this summer. But we have heard such declarations before during this campaign, and they have often been followed by a somber press conference with the candidate giving up and going home.
The two remaining candidates, Santorum and Paul, have barely campaigned at all in Florida, and it is hard to understand why they are still in the race, other than to continue to promote their ideas and to make PR for themselves. For Santorum, there might also be with something else in mind, such as a cabinet post if Romney beats Obama, or another attempt to represent Pennsylvania again in the U.S. Senate.