I think one has to distinguish between a token effort and an unsuccessful one. Romney has spent more money than anyone else, has held 50 events and had his co-chair work the state for months. He couldn't get above Huckabee or McCain. Realizing this about a week ago he pulled his ads and luckily found Nevada on the calendar to provide an escape avenue. The explanation is simple: his constituency is squeezed and perhaps nonexistent in the South. Huckabee and Thompson have the social conservatives and McCain the military and moderates. There are just not enough people left over for him. Now if Thompson or Huckabee drop out his prospects may change but otherwise it is hard to see how he would do any better in other southern states including ones on the February 5 calendar (Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Arkansas). I don't think a Republican can win the nomination let alone the presidency without the South. But again, the stars may realign if others drop out or fade. UPDATE: Romney very well could come in behind Thompson. Thompson moved ahead of him in Zogby and is in a statistical tie with him in this entirely post-Michigan poll.
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