Can Mitt still win?
Frankly, no – the arithmetic makes it all but impossible
The Republicans have already chosen most of their delegates, and Romney has won only 256 of the 1,417 chosen so far—some 18%.
To get the delegates he needs to lock up the nomination, Romney would not only have to improve his performance, he’d have to become virtually perfect – winning 934 of the 963 delegates who haven’t yet been chosen. Unless all other candidates dropped out of the race, there’s no way anyone will scoop up more than 97% of the delegates remaining. Even if Mitt gives the greatest speech of his life at tomorrow’s conference of CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Committee) he can’t win enough delegates to become this year’s nominee.
Does that mean McCain is the sure-thing standard bearer for the GOP?
Not quite. In terms of numbers, he needs to continue performing nearly as well as he’s performed so far: winning 48% of the delegates who haven’t yet been chosen (so far he’s locked up nearly 51%).
It’s not a slam dunk for him to achieve that outcome, nor is it a particularly steep his to climb. With his principal opponents badly weakened, Mike Huckabee running out of Southern primaries to win, and several once-viable campaigns (Giuliani, Thompson) dismantled altogether, the McCain task of earning 471 more delegates shouldn’t prove too arduous.
If he doesn’t win those delegates in the upcoming primaries (particularly the big, open-to- independents contests in Ohio, Texas and Indiana), there’s always the chance to make a deal: most likely with Mike Huckabee, whose 197 delegates should be more than enough to put McCain over the top. The talk of a Mac-and-Huck ticket is already reaching deafening levels.
Regardless of the passions aroused by this contest, the numbers tell a tough, unequivocal story.
Romney can’t win this thing.
McCain can – and probably will.