On eve of Florida primary, stats guru Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight projects 15 point Romney win

I love Nate Silver’s blog FiveThirtyEight (named for the total number of electoral votes). Silver began his blog independently, but migrated over to the New York Times. Btw, I’m over my monthly limit in terms of free visits to Times’ articles, but I’m still able to see FiveThirtyEight.

The current projections in Florida are very good news for Romney. While a handful of recent polls show only a single-digit lead for him over Gingrich, the average of the polls leads to a projection of a 15 point spread.

The bad news for Romney is that it seems likely that Gingrich will continue to fight, and Ron Paul seems all but certain to compete effectively in caucus states (a key strategy that led to Obama’s easier-than-it-looked-in-the-numbers win over Clinton in 2008). But for Paul to continue to wield considerable influence in the election and summer convention, he needs a Romney challenger to pick up enough delegates to prevent Romney from sweeping his way into the lead.

If Santorum does better than his projected 13% in the FiveThirtyEight data, I suspect he’ll stay in the race. But if the number drops to 10% or below in Florida, it’s very difficult for me to see him staying in the race.