If you read the NYT article, it's not about poll numbers (Cain is ahead) but about money and whether they are electable. The logic seems sound to me.
MH, I read the article. And trust me, polls aside, they were saying the same of Hillary in 2007. (The poll numbers were ignored because Clinton presumably had name recognition.)
Moreover, the same article could have been written in 2007 about Romney!
What's different this time round? McCain is not in the race?
I tend to agree that Romney will be the Republican choice but this is still early going.
Incidentally, where is Chris Christie in all this? Or Jeb Bush?
"In civilised society he stands at all times in need of the cooperation and assistance of great multitudes, while his whole life is scarce sufficient to gain the friendship of a few persons." Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Book 1, Chapter 2