Now, consider this scenario going into New Hampshire: Jon Huntsman steals some moderate votes away from Romney — while Newt Gingrich bashes Romney from the right. (The negative attacks then lead both Romney and Gingrich to decline in popularity.)…

Next, suppose that Gingrich — having finished a disappointing third or fourth in New Hampshire — decides to drops out. And as a parting shot to Romney, he endorses the surging Santorum — just before South Carolina (Gingrich said very kind words about him in his speech last night.)…

Continuing the scenario — unlike Iowa (which has a fairly low unemployment rate) — the good folks of the Palmetto State are struggling. Santorum’s economic populist message — and his comments about how to rejuvenate a diminishing manufacturing base — play well there, helping score a victory in the state.

From there, Santorum rides the momentum into Florida …