Gallup tracking poll - Beginning of January through middle of March
The Gallup tracking poll produces almost no information that will tell us who will be the Republican nominee, but because it is updated nearly every day, it gives a great snapshot of the mood of the GOP voters and trends over time. Let's look at the patterns.
R-Money (green): He rose, he fell, he rose again and fell again, and we have seen his third rise, which may be now entering his third fall. Even so, he has been the leader in the tracking poll for about 70% of the time and has never been worse than second. Notice that the highest grid line any candidate has passed this year is 35% and R-Money has done it at least once in every month. It has been really tough for anyone to stay over that level of support for even as long as a week at a stretch.
Sick Rantorum (greyish brown): In the beginning of January, he was a sad joke. By the beginning of February, he has become R-Money's main competition, even taking the lead for about a week in mid-February. It's too early to tell, but his numbers are currently rising as Mitt's are falling, so we may see a fifth lead change within a few days. The only thing that might prevent it is two third place finishes tonight in the Southern primaries, which is the general prediction from the polls but close enough that there might be a surprise.
Cheerful Old Newt (grey): December isn't shown on this, when Newt went from being a prohibitive favorite to second place. He peaked again in late January, but since then he has faded to a steady and unimpressive third place. Who knows if GOP votes nationwide will give him a boost based on what should be strong finishes this evening in Alabama and Mississippi.
Dr. Ron Paul (GOLD!): Very steady and consistently in the 10% to 15% bracket, with one small dip in early February. Can't gain traction, won't die out.
None of the above (black): At the beginning of the year, NOTA was up around 25%, but over time it has shrunk and for the past month it has been hovering around 15%. The GOP voter may not be in love, but they are becoming accustomed to the idea that one of these guys is getting the nomination and no white knight is coming to the rescue.
You will see updates of this graph in the future, because it's my blog and I love numbers.