About that Skipping NH Strategy…

There was some discussion about whether indications that the Perry, Bachmann, and Gingrich campaigns were looking to SC and possibly skipping NH were, as I called it, “signs of doom” for the candidates in question as well as a question about whether there was a viable strategy to be pursued after poor showings in IA and NH.

Well, we already have a partial answer: Bachmann has suspended her campaign and Perry is in “reassessment” mode (although he is apparently going to campaign in SC and so will really test the skipping hypothesis).

So yes: poor showings on IA matter as will a poor showing in NH for anyone who stays in to that point. There will be more winnowing after NH.

So far, there is no evidence to support the contention that skipping forward to SC (rhetorically or otherwise) is either a) a good sign for a campaign or b) even a viable option.

Granted, there are more observations to be made on this question.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Perry has announced he’s staying in and heading to South Carolina. No word on whether he’ll appear at the NH debates over the weekend but I suspect he will.

    It strikes me as the best move for him. He’s at 1% in NH. There is no significant SoCon vote there. And the only reason for the historical correlations that were noted yesterday is because nothing has happened to defy that strategy before. I doubt Perry will be the nominee, but he has shot at resurrecting himself as the real “Not Romney” in SC than in NH.

  2. Fiona says:

    I’ve got to agree with Doug here. I thought the guy was going to drop out but, if he’s got enough money to soldier on, then South Carolina is where he needs to make his stand, stop whatever momentum Santorum has, and remake himself into a viable “not Romney.” I’m not holding my breath that he’ll succeed, but it does seem like his only chance.

  3. @Fiona: There is little doubt that this is his only chance. The question is: is it a viable chance? I would argue not, but we shall see.

  4. @Doug Mataconis: If he does manage to resurrect his candidacy via this tactic, it will be most fascinating (and, indeed, historic in scope).

    As always, it is interesting to watch.

    I just think that what is really going on here is a combination of maintaining the campaign to raise enough money to get matching funds to pay off expenses/debt, ego, and desperation.

  5. Gustopher says:

    The more candidates that pull the “skipping New Hampshire” thing, the less New Hampshire matters. Everyone expects a Romney win there for the past six months, so if Romney wins easily it doesn’t change the narrative, especially if there is less competition.

    I don’t see how Perry and Newty have anything to gain from competing in New Hampshire. Attend the debates, sure, but the debates are more for a national audience anyway. If they seriously competed, they would be competing for second place.

    New Hampshire is Romney’s. It was always been Romney’s. Now, if Romney can’t muster an outright win (over 50%) in New Hampshire against Paul, Santorum, Hunstman, and people not even competing… the story will quickly be about Romney’s weakness.

  6. @Gustopher: My fundamental point is that Perry (and Newt) are both sufficiently damaged all they have now is a Hail Mary attempt to do something that has never been done: been utterly defeated in IA and NH and then revive a campaign.

    . Now, if Romney can’t muster an outright win (over 50%) in New Hampshire against Paul, Santorum, Hunstman, and people not even competing… the story will quickly be about Romney’s weakness.

    A plausible position. But then again, you just answered your own question about “I don’t see how Perry and Newty have anything to gain from competing in New Hampshire.”