Today’s campaign update: Mitt Romney seems to have adopted and interesting strategy. He is focusing the majority of his efforts on the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire and it appears to be paying off. Currently, Romney leads in the polls in those two states.
I see a similarity in what he is doing and what John Kerry did in ’04. Kerry was a middle-tier candidate early in the race and looked to be well behind Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt. But he focused on Iowa and New Hampshire and won both of those states, and every state after that seemed to fall in line. Romney is obviously playing the same strategy.
Well, I see a problem with that. We’re talking about two very different political groups. Those who vote Democrat, in my observation, tend to be much more sheepish and less independent in their thinking, unless they are adopting those wacky conspiracy theories which is their idea of independent thinking. But when it comes to politics, they tend to follow the crowd, making Iowa and New Hampshire critical for the Dems. They are socialist by nature, which means they have a tendency to follow. They are much more likely to believe what they see in the newspapers or on the local news broadcast hence the reason why the mainstream media is such a powerful force in this country and can almost pick a candidate for them. Dem voters are not likely to investigate candidates themselves, and will often take the people of Iowa and New Hampshire at their word. So, a candidate who wins the first two states has established himself as “the choice”, and anyone who doesn’t vote for him after that is now bucking the trend, a behavior rarely seen among Democrats. When’s the last time you ever heard a Democrat with a “new” idea? In New Hampshire, since 1976, the winner of the primary went on to win the nomination 4 times (Carter '76, Dukakis '88, Gore '00, Kerry '04). This does not include years in which the incumbent was running unopposed. Meanwhile, in Iowa the numbers are similar. Since 1976, 4 Iowa winners have gone on to the nomination (Carter '76, Mondale '84, Gore '00, Kerry '04).
Republican voters are different. These people are capitalist in nature, and therefore have much more independent thought. They are less likely to be affected by trends, and could care less who wins in Iowa and New Hampshire. In Iowa, when you eliminate the unopposed incumbents, since 1976, only 2 winners in Iowa (Bob Dole '96, Bush '00) went on the the nomination. And since 1976, the GOP has had 2 non-incumbent winners from New Hampshire go on to the nomination (Reagan '80, Bush '88). Bucking the trend is not something that is feared among Republican voters. That’s why I think Romney’s efforts will fail. But what other choice does he have? He’s trailing substantially in the polls, and is even behind someone who hasn’t even entered the race yet. This may be his only option.
I predict Romney will probably win at least one of these states, but will come nowhere close to winning the GOP nomination.