Romney Ahead By A Mile In Nevada

Andrew Sullivan —  Feb 2 2012 @ 11:17am

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal's poll Romney is up by 20 points. His base? I hope you're sitting down:

At the core of Romney's strength in Nevada is support from fellow Mormons. The survey showed 85.5 percent of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said they planned to caucus for Romney compared with single-digit LDS support for the other candidates. Mormons made up one-quarter of GOP caucus-goers in 2008, although they are about 7 percent of the state population.

Kilgore adds:

For all the talk of Romney’s religion hurting him because of a “backlash” from evangelicals, there’s no question he benefits from a “frontlash” of LDS voters expressing solidarity with him, just as Catholic voters did for JFK in 1960 when he sought to become that group’s first president. They matter a lot in NV, and will also matter on February 28 in Arizona (6% LDS), and in later caucuses in Idaho (27% LDS) and Wyoming (11% LDS), right down to heavily-Mormon Utah, which ends the whole nominating process on June 26.

Stewart Lawrence is watching Colorado and Minnesota, which vote on February 7th:

[T]hey are likely to be much fairer tests of Romney's ability to build on his current momentum. These are states that Romney won handily over McCain by positioning himself as the conservative "insurgent" seeking to challenge the "hand-picked moderate" chosen by the GOP "establishment." Now the roles are somewhat reversed: Romney, with McCain's support, is playing McCain's former role, and Gingrich is playing Romney's. But can he benefit the same way Romney did? That's the big question.