It’s hard to imagine that not long ago Mitt Romney’s “kindling” campaign strategy was charred after losses in Iowa and New Hampshire. Today for the first time he finds himself in the lead in a national poll. (Rasmussen, 28%-26% over McCain) It’s just one survey, of course, but it ain’t exactly a high school straw poll. Still, for the record, Mitt still trails McCain in the national averages 26%-20%.

So what about Florida? Many pundits predict the winner of Florida’s primary will go on to win the nomination. I agree. If McCain wins a closed primary in the south, coupled with leads in places like NY and CA, he’ll be the nominee.

If Romney wins Florida he’ll have a tougher road because so much of the GOP establishment still backs McCain and he’ll be very tough to bury, but Mitt will have undeniable momentum headed into February 5th and McCain doubters will come out in full force.

Isn’t it ironic that a very tight race in Florida, perhaps decided by just a few percentage points (32%-30%?), could be the difference-maker?

So what’s your prediction? Who wins Florida and what’s the breakdown? I’ll send the winner (Cheesy self-promotion alert!) a signed book to make things interesting.

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