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Why Romney Remains Compelling

A Commentary by Douglas Schoen

According to Real Clear Politics, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney continues to enjoy a solid double digit lead in both Iowa and New Hampshire. He also holds a more narrow lead in South Carolina and Michigan and appears to be in a statistical tie in Nevada.

This suggests to me that if he is able to hold on and win the Iowa caucuses his path to the nomination seems clear and direct, for a number of straightforward reasons.

First, other than Mike Huckabee, Romney is the only candidate with momentum in Iowa. Guiliani is not a factor here, Fred Thompson has been fading, and John McCain continues to lack traction.

Dick Morris correctly points out that Mike Huckabee appears to have generated some enthusiasm but he seems to have stalled in the mid-teens and will be vulnerable should Ron Paul's million dollar plus media buy in the state generate any considerable support for the Texas Congressman.

Should Romney win Iowa, even narrowly, he will almost certainly sweep through New Hampshire. And should that happen the likelihood is very high he will take the next three states easily.

Should Romney win 5 of the first 5 states, or even 4 or the first 5 states the attention he will generate and the support he will win cannot be overestimated.

It is hard to imagine Rudy Guiliani maintaining his support in the large states that come thereafter like Florida, California, and Illinois.

To be sure, none of this is locked in stone, but given the transformative effect Iowa had on the Democratic side in 2004, I wouldn't bet against Mitt Romney.

Douglas Schoen is a founding and former partner of Penn Schoen & Berland, and a Fox News Contributor.

Schoen was President Bill Clinton's research and strategic consultant during the 1996 reelection campaign.

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