The latest Gallup poll has Romney ringing in the new year at the top of the pack yet again. The theme of the 2012 Republican primary has been one challenger after another racing after Romney, only to shine for a moment and quickly burn out. Thus far, Romney has shown amazing endurance and his rivals have served only to distract the Democrat's ire from the once and future GOP forerunner.
Power Line's John Hinderaker recently issued a full-throated endorsement of Romney, quickly followed by a strong endorsement, on different foundations, from Ann Coulter. Chris Christie is speaking at Romney rallies. This isn't to say that the race is over. Power Line is a house divided, with Johnson and Hayward still resisting the potential inevitability of a Romney victory. But if Gingrich fades and Santorum fails to rise, the options are running thin.
NLT hasn't really come out screaming in favor of a (viable) candidate. Peter Schramm seems to be supporting Romney (or at least opposing Gingrich) along the lines of George Will and Ramesh Ponnuru. I tend to agree. While I'm not in love with Romney any more than the next conservative, he seems to fulfill the Buckley Rule without any aberrations which make him absolutely unpalatable.
This is all just a survey of the present lay of the land. I don't feel sufficiently compelled to root for Romney, and so am still willing to entertain opposition. And, politically, I think it's good for Romney to have continuing opposition - once he becomes the heir apparent, the left's political machine will begin a non-stop smear campaign which is presently diffused among the GOP field. Romney's star rose early, but constant competition has kept him from becoming a bore and beginning to descend.
Nonetheless, conservatives might want to begin privately accepting that Romney will be the party's standard-bearer in 2012.