It is understandable that the media, which is of course in it for the money, puffs up the GOP candidate of the week-this week it is Michele Bachman's turn-breathlessly describes every twist and turn of the GOP race but it is all a sham.
When Sarah Palin makes her decision whether she will run or not, and she gave the clearest indication yet that she will do so by early September at the latest on Hannity then, apart from who she will endorse should she not run, the real picture of where the race stands will emerge.
The current polling verges on the ludicrous. Politico reports The Iowa republican "alternate" poll has Romney at 18 Bachman 15 Christie-a disavowed candidate if there ever was one at 13 Cain and Palin at 7 Perry at 6 and Ron Paul at 5.
ARG Polling in Iowa has Bachman 21 Romney 18 Paul 14 Palin 11
Des Moines Register Romney 23 Bachman 22 Palin 15
Magellan polling Iowa without Palin in the mix Bachman 29 Romney 16 Paul 5
Quinnipiac Nationwide Romney 25 Bachman 14 Palin 10 Perry 10
The polls are all over the place with one having Ron Paul at 14 and another having him at 5. Bachman's vote is very soft, and as she comes under more media scrutiny, these high numbers will decline.
Palin has had all the scrutiny there could be and has a clear 10-15 base without having declared, and if she does they can only go higher for her-she is well placed.
As to where the GOP voters stand-and they are the ones that count not the liberal media of national polls if we add the center right candidates support Palin/Bachman/Santorum/Cain/Perry it comes to 43% compared to 34% RINO/center left support for Romney/Huntsman/Pawlenty/Gingrich (with Paul as an outsider.)
Given those support levels I would look to the final battle being between Romney and Palin or the candidate of her choice.