|Not a crystal ball.|
Early on in the debates when everyone was declaring Perry or Romney the winner, I called it for Cain. He started rising in the polls shortly afterwards. Later on when people were calling the debate for Cain or Romney, I called it for Gingrich. Gingrich has been rising in the polls ever since. The latest debate people are declaring for Gingrich, but I think both he and Romney were co-winners. We'll soon see if I was correct again.
[I'd post the links to my observations but it's late and I'm tired, so just trust me - or look up my previous posts].
I'd like to say I'm good at predicting winners but it's not the case. What I think I've been doing well is watching the debates dispassionately and determining the winners based on merit. That's not to say I'm not passionate about the debates, I am. But you have to be dispassionate to get the winners and losers right. The latest Marist poll looks like Gingrich has moved to the top tier with a flat Romney and a possible fading Cain (although that has more to do with accusations against him than debate performance).
Now that I've said my prognostication isn't great, but my observations have been accurate, allow me to prognosticate*. With two months and numerous debates to go, I think the dust is starting to settle on the the contenders and I see, at least early on, a two-man race: Romney versus Gingrich. Bachmann, Perry and Cain I think have all peaked too early. Everyone else has a ceiling that is too low to win. Gingrich may be peaking at the right time - late.
As an aside, given the McCain 2008 collapse and then phoenix-like late rise, and Gingrich's possible repetition of that pattern, it may be the new desired route to the nomination for candidates - peak late.
Back to the prediction - I can see, one of two scenarios materializing - a few surprise winners early on and no clear front-runner emerging resulting in a brokered convention OR more likely, most of the states being won by Gingrich and Romney and a fight to the bitter end between the two.
In any case, Gingrich has had a strong string of debate performances and a seemingly smart strategy and a good sense of timing. Those aren't bad qualities for a president, but this thing is far from over and there are yet more events to be observed.
*All prognostications are subject to change as a result of observations.