At this point in the game, with less than week before the caucuses, you can safely turn to polls of Iowa Republicans for an accurate gauge of where each candidate stands. According to the latest survey from the American Research Group, Mitt Romney has jumped to the front of the pack with 22 percent support, as Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich fall to 16 percent and 17 percent, respectively. When placed in context with other polls from other firms, Romney is clearly on the upswing. Here’s Talking Points Memo with its average. The black line is Romney:
Even with the prominence of candidates like Herman Cain and Gingrich, Romney has always been the favorite for the nomination. Like Barack Obama was when he ran for both the Senate and the presidency, he has had the advantage of lackluster competition. The only question was one of timing: Would he cruise to victory after early wins in key states, or would he face a long slog? If current trend in Iowa is any indication, the former Massachusetts governor has a quick and easy path to the nomination.