Should Santorum Have Skipped New Hampshire? - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Should Santorum Have Skipped New Hampshire?
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Whatever happens tonight, there is going to be some discussion of whether Rick Santorum should have skipped the New Hampshire primary and focused on South Carolina. The logic is this: Right after the Iowa caucuses, Santorum began polling competitively with Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. He wasn’t the kind of candidates who translates well in New Hampshire. Santorum’s South Carolina poll numbers declined as he was wasting his time in a state where was never likely to do well.

But during the same period where polls showed Santorum with an opportunity to win South Carolina, the polling also looked like he had a shot to finish third in New Hampshire. Santorum needed to keep his momentum going and he also needed to continue to put distance between himself and Gingrich. He may have failed to both of those things, but if he had bypassed New Hampshire entirely he surely would have done even worse. Maybe Rick Perry’s 0.7 percent of the vote in New Hampshire didn’t hurt in South Carolina — by that point, he was only polling around 5 percent in SC anyway — but it surely didn’t help.

The assumption seems to be that additional campaign appearances in South Carolina could have outweighed being a nonentity in the post-New Hampshire reporting and Gingrich’s performance in the debates. Count me skeptical. If it had made a difference in being able to advertise in South Carolina, that would be one thing. But he’s been relying mostly on retail politics. Santorum lost his Granite State gamble, but it was a gamble he needed to make.

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