Richard Wolffe is an msnbc Political Analyst and frequent NOWist
What is today's most damaging number for Mitt Romney as he continues to scratch and scrape for his party's presidential nomination?
Is it the 10 point gap between the supposed frontrunner and the insurgent Rick Santorum in the latest national Gallup poll? When you're stuck at 26 per cent, as Romney is, a 10-point deficit looks like a lot of ground to make up just a couple of weeks away from Super Tuesday.
Or is it the multiple of two and a half?
That's the rate at which the supposedly fiscally conservative Romney - and his supposedly independent Super PAC - is burning up cash faster than he can raise it. Not the best way to boast about your turnaround credentials or management expertise.
Surely it's not all bad numbers. How about the great numbers out of Michigan, where only 24 per cent of GOP voters support the auto bailout that saved the state's economy?
Good news for Romney, who opposed the bailout, right? Wrong.
A majority of the state's voters overall - 52 per cent - support the bailout. The almost 30-point gap between the GOP and the rest of Michigan just underscores how far the party is outside the mainstream.
Winning the nomination looks increasingly like a poison pill. No wonder nobody with a credible political future wants to step in and save this party in 2012.
No, the very worst number for Mitt Romney is buried in that Gallup poll. After all the money burned, after all the crazy talk and crazier candidates, after the collapse of Romney's independent support in the polls, what does the GOP want? More of the same. Fully 57% of Republicans want this circus to stay on the road because they believe it isn't hurting the party.
They say we get the politicians we deserve. In the case of Republican primary voters, they will surely end up with a nominee they have battered and bruised with their own hands.