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NOW Today: The most important to date

Is it or isn't it?That is, is it or isn't it a three way race?

Is it or isn't it?

That is, is it or isn't it a three way race? Everyone seems to have a different opinion about the state of the 2012 race, but most observers will tell you that - while it sounds like a broken record - tonight's contests are the most important to date. Why? For Newt Gingrich, a loss in these Deep South states would mean his "Southern Strategy" failed (with the exception of his home state ofGeorgia).  Losses by Mitt Romney would drive the narrative that the former Massachusetts governor cannot connect with a key base of the party.  And if Rick Santorum stumbles tonight, some voters might think twice about the viability of the Senator's bid.

What's more, if Alabama and Mississippi claim different winners, that surely complicates things.  Oh, and to make it extra fun: the polls are all over the place, meaning we don't really know what to expect tonight.


Steve Kornacki, (@stevekornacki)

Fmr. Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA), NBC News Political Analyst

Bethany McLean, Contributing Editor, Vanity Fair

Patricia Murphy, Daily Beast Contributor/Citizen Jane Politics (@1patriciamurphy)


Michael Waldman, Executive Director, Brennan Center

Matthieu Aikins, GQ (@mattaikins)