One big ele­phant and two lit­tle ones. The wal­rus is Paul.

We’re in a three-​​week hia­tus with no pri­maries or cau­cuses, which prob­a­bly accounts for the pun­di­toc­racy focus­ing on the sta­tus of the horse — uh, make that ele­phant — race.

A sure sign that for­mer Mass­a­chu­setts Gov­er­nor Mitt Rom­ney has the nom­i­na­tion all but sewn up: Politico has turned to hand­i­cap­ping the Vice-​​Presidential slot. Politico’s Mag­gie Haber­man feels for­mer Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get direc­tor and cur­rent Sen­a­tor Rob Port­man (R-​​OH) is the favorite.

We at Log­a­rchism like to look at Intrade num­bers. As of Fri­day on Intrade, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-​​FL) is the favorite with a 25 per­cent chance of secur­ing the VP nom­i­na­tion, fol­lowed by New Jer­sey Gov­er­nor Chris Christie (11 per­cent), Vir­ginia Gov­er­nor Bob McDon­nell (nine per­cent), Port­man (nine per­cent), Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Paul Ryan (R-​​Janesville, WI) (nine per­cent), and New Mex­ico Gov­er­nor Susana Mar­tinez (eight percent).

Romney’s Intrade num­bers are a vir­tu­ally cer­tain 96 per­cent, with none of the other can­di­dates above one percent.

To see the rea­son why, exam­ine the graph of del­e­gate counts (data cour­tesy of The New York Times/​Associated Press), after the jump.

Accord­ing to the Asso­ci­ated Press del­e­gate count, Rom­ney has 658 of the 1,144 del­e­gates he needs for a win on the first bal­lot at the Repub­li­can National Con­ven­tion in Tampa, Florida, on August 29. For­mer Sen­a­tor Rick San­to­rum (R-​​PA) is far behind at 281, for­mer House Speaker Newt Gin­grich is fur­ther behind at 135, and Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ron “the Wal­rus” Paul (R-​​Lake Jack­son, TX) at a hope­less 51.

Put another way, through the remain­ing cau­cuses and pri­maries end­ing with Utah June 26, there are still 1,160 del­e­gates avail­able. Paul would have to secure 94 per­cent of the remain­ing del­e­gates, Gin­grich would need 87 per­cent, and San­to­rum would need 74 per­cent of the remain­ing del­e­gates to reach 1,144 and a first-​​ballot win. Thus, it seems vir­tu­ally impos­si­ble for any of them to secure the nom­i­na­tion on the first bal­lot. Their best hope is to force a sec­ond ballot.

What are Romney’s chances of get­ting a first-​​ballot major­ity? Vir­tu­ally cer­tain, as he would need only 42 per­cent of the remain­ing del­e­gates to secure the nom­i­na­tion. The graph above starts with Wash­ing­ton State (March 3) and Super Tues­day (March 6). At the end of Feb­ru­ary (left side of the graph), the del­e­gate race was much closer. If one extrap­o­lates Romney’s stair­case, it’s easy to see that his del­e­gate counts are going to eas­ily out­strip Santorum’s some­where in early June, bar­ring some major disaster.