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Sean Trende , an impressive analyst and my new buddy, says that it’s possible Mitt will come up short delegate-wise. For one thing, March may well be brutal for him, and he may not actually win that many states from now on. For another, his firewalls of New York and California may not hold. So Sean says a brokered convention is not a complete impossibility at this point.

On the other side: Romney will still probably get the delegates; organization means a lot in that regard. As Pete points out, Santorum is hardly the most formidable possible opponent. I’m not as hard on Rick as Pete is. What’s remarkable is not that he’s falling short at this crucial time, but that he’s gotten this far with mediocre talent and no real organization.

The exit polls from the “Super” states show that Mitt is strong in the South in the affluent suburbs, and that’s about it. He carried Atlanta and Savannah suburbs in GA, but was way, way low everywhere else. The facts out of Ohio were not much different.

The new Rassmussen Poll from Alabama suggests the same pattern. It’s basically a three-way tie. That means that Romney is losing to non-Romney by two to one. Newt has some mo’, which is, to use Pete’s schoolmarmish but very apt word, a disgrace. And the experts say that about all of Romney’s support is in the affluent suburbs of Birmingham.

So maybe the responsible thing is to say that Romney has won, and let’s get on with talking him up. (And again—I’m not as hard as Pete on Mitt either; his rhetoric is less fraudulent than needlessly condescending. He’s going to have to get more personal.) But it’s hard not to notice that the Romney people are sort of bragging about picking up delegates and not about actually getting votes. I have to agree with Sean that there may be a limit to that strategy. Or maybe—probably—not.

UPDATE: The R. Poll out of MS shows Romney with a slight lead and Santorum and Gingrich tied. More evidence of the perverse Newt surge and that Romney looks not so bad only because the split of the of Non vote. Still, two victories in AL and MS would really help Mitt, however small and ambiguous they might be.

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