The days of this race characterized by having unacceptable Republican candidates as front runners may be drawing to a close. Jay Cost of RCP makes some interesting points about the McCain candidacy, the Romney candidacy, and the (Republican) race in general.
"Examining congressional endorsements for McCain and Romney, excluding in-state supporters (as they often act more out of home state pride than ideological proximity), we find some interesting results. 34 Republicans have endorsed Mitt Romney, while just 24 have endorsed McCain. Furthermore, Romney's supporters are more in line with conservative opinion. Their average 2006 ACU rating was 84.1, and 26 of them come from states Bush won in 2004. Meanwhile, the average 2006 ACU rating for McCain's supporters is 70.7, and just 12 of them come from Bush states."
"I do not think that McCain can end the nomination battle with wins in Michigan and South Carolina. Because conservative leaders dislike him, I think they might 'rediscover' a viable alternative to him. Romney, Thompson, or even Giuliani could be brought back to life in a final effort to stop McCain."
"...Everything that has been written here applies to Mike Huckabee all the more. Huckabee is even more unacceptable to conservative leaders (he has the endorsement of only three out-of-state Republican members of Congress). His campaign even seems to be courting their contempt. McCain, to his credit, has worked hard since the immigration bill not to thumb his nose at conservative leaders. But not Huckabee. And I think that they would only accept Huckabee's nomination after he has won a majority of delegates. Until then, they'll find somebody, anybody to oppose him."
There is a growing consensus building amongst the Republicans who are not jumping onto the John McCain and Mike Huckabee popularity contest/populism bandwagon. That is, any combination of Romney, Thompson, or Giuiliani is preferable to John McCain or Mike Huckabee.