To hear some talk about it -- the next speech, debate, poll, controversy, hit piece, campaign ad, press release or gaffe will decide the entire GOP primary.
Let's take a look back to the 2008 election cycle -- specifically this timeframe during that cycle.
We should vote for a candidate based on his electability!
From November 2007 through January 2008 -- McCain was the most electable Republican against the eventual Democratic nominee. How'd that work out?
The thing is -- McCain was way back in the pack at this point in 2007.So-and-so is the frontrunner in [insert early primary state here]! And what's-his-name is toast!
Iowa, RCP Poll Average, November 1, 2007:
At this point in the 2008 cycle, Romney's lead in Iowa was double that of eventual winner Mike Huckabee, 28% - 14.5%. McCain, who didn't put a lot of emphasis on Iowa, was at 8%. By the time the caucus votes were tallied, Huckabee more than doubled his Nov 1 poll percentage.
New Hampshire, RCP Poll Average, November 1, 2007:
At this point in the 2008 cycle, Romney's lead in New Hampshire was nearly double that of eventual winner John McCain, 29% - 16.4%. By the time the primary votes were actually cast, McCain nearly doubled his Nov 1 poll percentage, and Rudy Giuliani, who was second in the Nov 1 poll, had his percentage more than halved.
South Carolina, RCP Poll Average, November 1, 2007:
At this point in the 2008 cycle, Romney's lead in South Carolina was 7 points over eventual winner John McCain, 19.3% - 12.3%. At this point, eventual 2nd place finisher Mike Huckabee was at 6.0%. By the time the primary votes were actually cast, McCain more than doubled his Nov 1 poll percentage, and Huckabee more than quadrupled his.
But this time it's different!
Sure, and the last time was different. Except it wasn't. And the next time will be different too! Except it won't be. But this time......blah, blah, blah.
Trying to be the first one to call the race is exciting punditry, and can probably garner a person attention and hits for being provocative. But as for pundits, polls and the press being reliably predictive at this point? Blah, blah, blah.