The drumbeat from the big media is that the race for the Republican nomination is over. In doing so, they are not reporting news, they are attempting to alter outcomes. Mitt Romney would not be the nominee without a billion dollars worth of free-to-him media pronouncements that he is the nominee, excessive coverage in the early debates, etc...
Despite every effort of both the media and the Republican establishment, Romney has averaged about 41% of the vote in contests so far. And that is with all three of his "home states" (Mass., Mich, and New Hampshire) in the mix. Because the anti-Romney vote has been split so many ways, Romney has the most delegates. He will almost certainly have the most delegates at the Republican convention in August. What is not assured is that he will have the majority of delegates that he needs to secure the nomination on the first ballot. And if he does not, he is likely to lose the nomination to someone else. Romney's support is broad, but not particularly deep.
The delegate counts from the big media are mostly fabrications based on the percentage of the vote in the primary. But about a third of the states don't assign delegates that way, and its delegates that count. To be a delegate, you have to go through a series of meetings and conventions. A lot of Romney's support is not committed enough to go through that process.
The truth is we still don't know what the exact delegate count will be, even from the Iowa delegation. Remember Iowa voted first. Still we will not know the true count until their state convention in June, and that's true of many states. Every report we have so far though, indicates that though he finished third in the voting, Ron Paul is on track to win the most delegates from Iowa. This is because his supporters not only voted, but were dedicated enough to hang around and get themselves elected as local delegates. They kept working through the onerous process of county and district conventions even as supporters of other candidates stayed home.
I am now hearing reports all over the nation of Ron Paul supporters, or a "Conservative Unity" slate of Santorum and Paul supporters in an alliance, taking the most delegates at district conventions. The state conventions in most cases have yet to be held, so we don't know the final numbers, but it looks like that the anti-Romney forces are finally (perhaps too late) coalescing.
Remember that Romney typically gets from 41%-44% of the vote, and that with media, big bank, and establishment backing. Without such backing there is absolutely nothing compelling in his resume or background to make him the nominee and I doubt he would even average double digits. The anti-Romney vote, if it can come together, has both greater numbers and more enthusiasm than the Romney vote.
Realistically, if Florida is allowed to break the rules and give all of their delegates to Romney even though they should have been apportioned, Romney has around 600 delegates of the 1144 he needs to secure the nomination. There are about 1,000 delegates yet to be voted on, so he needs to win an absolute majority of the remaining delegates to get over the top.
The media is trying to call this thing as over before Texas votes, before California votes, and of course before we vote in Arkansas. My best guess is that not only does Romney not have this thing locked up, there is about a 50% chance that he will not really lock it up until California votes in June. There is a somewhat less than 50% chance that he will not lock it up even after California, but he will be rescued by the "superdelegates." Those are party officials who are selected separately from grassroots voting. If he needs to be pushed over the top by the superdelegates- there are about 150 of them, it will only highlight what a weak nominee he is.
There is a small but not tiny chance that he will not lock it up after California and either there will not be enough super-delegates to rescue him or they will choose not to. My rough estimate is that there is about a 10% chance of this scenario happening. In that case, the convention will be brokered. I think the anti-Romeny folks are working toward that goal. It is too late for anyone else but Romney to win the nomination on the first ballot, but it is not too late to stop Romney from winning it and giving someone else a chance on the second ballot.
Based on their past behavior, the closer the anti-Romney forces come to blocking him, the louder and more shrill I expect the corporate media to declare that the race is over. Watch for that as a barometer of the blocker's success.