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Romney's Overlooked Advantage

David Corn recently argued that Obama will be hurt by the shift to big multi-state primary days like February 5 since his inspirational message works best when he's directly in front of voters. Whether or not that logic is right (and Jason has argued that it isn't), I think a version of it does apply to the GOP race. Looking at some of the recent Florida numbers showing Mitt Romney climbing, I can't help but think he benefits, and John McCain and Mike Huckabee suffer, from the shift toward an "air campaign" and away from voter-to-voter contact. And tha'ts not just because he's the best-financed candidate in the field.

Romney's always struck me as an-adequate-at-best retail politician (town hall meetings, etc.). But he's good looking, has a nice resume, and an authoritative voice--the kind of things that make for effective TV ads. Huckabee and McCain on the other had, are much better at the retail game. Indeed, their respective successes in Iowa and New Hampshire were largely a function of their magnetism on the stump. The Florida campaign, to say nothing of February 5, seems to play into Romney's hands by depriving them of that advantage and minimizing his own liabilities.

Update: The just-out St. Pete Times poll shows McCain and Romney neck and neck--25-23 McCain--with Giuliani and Huckabee fading (15 percent each)...

--Noam Scheiber