President Picker predicts that Mitt Romney will soon be the clear front runner in the Republican primaries, and that Romney will go on to win the nomination. There are several key factors that suggest a Romney win:
First, Fred Thompson has not turned out to be the "Ronald Reagan" his supporters insist he is. Thompson generally appears tired and irritated and impatient with the process, which probably goes against much of the grain of his Limousine Hollywood Conservatism. Like Giuliani Thompson carries more than the normal personal baggage of a presidential candidate, and although conservatives are generally very forgiving of any heterosexual personal transgressions of fellow conservatives this challenge takes a toll with voters on the fence.
With McCain now pretty much out of the picture due to his Iraq war support and money problems, Giuliani is Romney's key competition, and Giuliani will prove no match for Romney. Among the many reasons are Romney's (sincere I assume) born again anti abortionist stance which makes it easy for core conservatives to overlook his Mormon religion. Also, Romney is brilliantly downplaying his religion as a factor in the race. Mormonism is controversial, especially among bible belt conservatives, but if Romney can stress his legitimate claim to solid family values and strong religious beliefs he'll be able to successfully continue to downplay the specific beliefs that might offend other conservatives. Clearly his anti abortion stance will trump Giuliani's pro choice stance and clearly this is more of a factor for conservatives than Mormonism.
Lastly and most importantly Romney is the most *presidential looking* of the candidates. Even those of us who claim to maintain impartialy with respect to looks and demeanor .. do not maintain impartiality. Reagan and Clinton were masters at looking and acting presidential, and both got more credit for this than is commonly recognized. As the election heats up and advertising hits national markets, look for Romney to get a boost simply because he looks and acts very presidential.