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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

And then there were six

With Michelle Bachmann "suspending" her campaign (which of course means ending), we are now left with six white males as the Republican nominee. Unlike other candidates who've dropped out over the past few months, Bachmann hasn't been above 10% in the polls in a long time, so her decision has less impact on the remaining candidates. But nevertheless, Bachmann got over 6,000 votes in Iowa, which is larger than the gap between first and third place. At about 5% in the polls, if all of her supporters were to line up behind one candidate that candidate would obviously benefit significantly. So which candidate are her backers now likely to endorse? The following is from Noah Rothman of politicology:

"So where do Bachmann’s voters go? While they are a small group, they are deeply conservative and are more social than fiscally conservative – many self-identified as Tea Party voters. Perhaps their most natural ally in the presidential field would have been Perry, but it appears that he too will suspend his campaign shortly. Given the surprising performance of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, they may gravitate towards his campaign.
More likely, there will be a schism among Bachmann’s supporters with votes being divided evenly among the remaining candidates. She still commands 6.7 percent support in the RCP average ofSouth Carolina voters and 3.5 percent in Florida. Given that the Iowa race turned on 8 votes, those are not insignificant margins"

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