The ugly math:
Play around with the CNN delegate calculator and you can see that even if Romney were to win every contest going forward with 100 percent of the delegates (that’s called kickin’ it North Korea-style) he still wouldn’t reach 1,144 until April 3. Under a similar extreme scenario, it would take Rick Santorum until April 23. Here’s the real kicker: If Romney and Santorum were to split the delegates going forward and each were to carry five of the 10 all-or-nothing contests, neither candidate would win enough delegates to clinch the nomination.
Add to that mix the fact that Ron Paul’s got very little reason to not go all the way to Tampa collecting delegates along the way—and Newt Gingrich has sworn less convincingly to do the same—and the math gets even more daunting for Team Mitt.
They have one ace up their sleeve—Utah. It’s currently scheduled last in the primary calendar, on June 26, with 40 delegates; winner-take-all in a state that is famously Mormon-dominated. It could serve as a backstop for Mitt, bringing him over the top at the last possible moment.