The latest Gallup poll of Republican preferences for the 2012 nomination has analysts fixated on who is up and who is down (Cain/Gingrich respectively). The liberal media ignores the fact that the only people who matter as regards the GOP nomination are grass roots supporters.
Poll companies such as PPP (D) run Obama versus various Republican prospects and talking heads focus on e.g. Palin's "unfavorables" and write her off. All of that is utterly meaningless and the statistics will of course change once the GOP settles on a nominee.
To the business at hand-how the nomination battle might go. If, as is widely accepted, and especially with the history of Huckabee's success in Iowa as a representative of the evangelical wing of the GOP in the previous campaign it must be considered that a candidate who is recognized as a sincere evangelical has a substantial opportunity to win the caucus there.
Romney,for all his efforts in Iowa and the massive sum he spent finished behind the, at the time, basically unknown Huckabee.There is little reason to doubt that the same scenario could play out this time if an evangelical runs against him.
Looking at the latest Gallup result the figures are starkly clear and show the serious challenge for Romney if the evangelical vote in Iowa moves to one main candidate.
Evangelicals: 37% (Palin/Cain/Bachman/Pawlenty/Santorum/Huckabee)
Mormons: 19% (Romney/Huntsman)
Libertarians: 12% (Paul/Johnson)
Non-affiliated 9% (Gingrich)
If history does repeat then, although it would be a challenge given Romney's strength in New Hampshire, the Iowa winner might have the momentum to win there and close the deal in South Carolina where the evangelical backing would once again come into play. As the evangelical front runner Palin has a clear path to the nomination based on the Gallup result.