One set of numbers from the Florida primary are particularly revealing, and put the lie to the idea that Republican voters care more about ideology than victory.
As reported by Fox News, 45% of Florida primary voters stated that the ability to beat Obama was the most important factor in selecting a candidate, while 14% said they consider “most conservative” to be the most important factor. That means more than three times as many primary voters are concerned with victory than with ideological purity.
Before some readers protest that Florida is not representative of the nation as a whole, the fact is that the sunshine state comes about as close to mirroring the general electorate as almost any state. It combines the tea party leanings of the northern part of the state (panhandle), the more moderate, mainstream inclinations of southern Florida (with many transplanted northerners) and the more independent swing voters in the central part of the state (I-4 corridor).
The revelations in these numbers, combined with an outsized cash advantage for Romney and an upcoming month with only one debate (though Florida voters who considered debate performance the most important factor actually preferred Romney) adds to a rapidly growing sense that Romney is not only in the drivers seat, but perhaps ready to lap the field.