One week ago Mitt Romney was riding high. He had a 23 point lead in the Gallup national polling, held a big lead in South Carolina and was on track to quickly wrapping up the nomination. A lot has changed in just seven days. Romney’s national lead has dropped to just 10 points, still large but moving in the wrong direction quickly. From Gallup:

Republican Preferences for 2012 GOP Presidential Nomination -- Recent Trend

In addition to a huge national swing, there has been an equally large swing in South Carolina. Romney went from about a ten point lead in South Carolina to now trailing Newt Gingrich by a few points. Instead of Romney wrapping up the race quickly, looks like it will drag on for at least a few more weeks.

This GOP primary has been a great example of that fact that debate performances matter. It was a few awful debate performances that helped kill Rick Perry’s campaign. It was some strong debate performances that gave Gingrich his initial surge late last year back when Gingrich’s support was in the single digits. Finally, this recent sharp drop for Romney coincides with his poor debate performance Monday, where Romney was awkwardly stumped over questions about his tax returns.