I think it would be folly to say that Romney has 30% of the Republican vote nailed down; voters don’t know nearly as much about him as they will when they start deciding in Iowa and New Hampshire early next year. Still, those are nice numbers to put up on the board.
Michele Bachmann clearly made a positive impression on many in the New Hampshire debate, and Herman Cain made some positive impressions in the South Carolina and New Hampshire debates; but surely those numbers cannot be regarded as firm. You might argue that Palin’s support pre-New Hampshire debate went to Bachmann post-New Hampshire debate, but I would be wary of such explanations, since I think it’s possible that there will be lots of fluidity among Republican voters from day to day and week to week. What these polls indicate to me, more than anything else, is that this is a fluid contest, with plenty of surprises left for us between now and whenever someone clinches the nomination.