Morris: media may misinterpret a Romney victory in NH
Romney leads in NH at 30% according to the WBZ-TV/Franklin Pierce New Hampshire Poll numbers posted by Kavon W. Nikrad to race42008.com. Only Romney’s numbers in NH are misleading. This is because “in media terms, Massachusetts and New Hampshire might as well be the same state,” or so argues Dick Morris in an email transmission titled IOWA VS. AMERICA.
Romney’s surge is entirely Rudy Giuliani’s fault. Ineptly, his campaign chose not to advertise early on in Iowa and ceded the airwaves to Romney. Anxious to display the largest cash on hand, Giuliani made a possibly fatal mistake in letting Romney get a large and sustained lead in the first caucus state.
It remains to be seen whether Rudy and/or Thompson can play catch-up and challenge Romney in Iowa. If Mitt Romney wins in Iowa, he can probably expect to prevail in New Hampshire, where he is also well ahead.
It is one of the media’s blind spots that, while it discounts the performance of a presidential candidate in his home state (Tom Harkin, for example, got no bounce from winning in Iowa in 1992), it does not realize that, in media terms, Massachusetts and New Hampshire might as well be the same state. Most of the Granite State’s residents watch Boston television at night and are used to seeing ex-Gov. Romney in their living rooms on the nightly news, giving him an edge as significant as if it were his home state. In 1992, Massachusetts Sen. Paul Tsongas won the New Hampshire primary and the media accepted it at face value, as they are likely to do if Romney prevails.
If Romney wins Iowa and New Hampshire, will anti-Mormon prejudice and his flip-flop-flip on abortion bring him down, or will he cruise to the nomination?
It is also possible that something else is going on in Iowa. Jaded by the massive amounts of money spent in the state by presidential aspirants, Mike Huckabee seems to be developing a unique appeal as the candidate without money. As he said before the Ames straw poll, where Romney wrote out $35 checks for any of his supporters who wished to pay the obligatory poll tax and vote, I can’t afford to buy you. I can’t even afford to rent you. Huckabee’s second-place 18 percent finish at Ames might give an indication of a broader surge behind his candidacy as his electric personality, warm wit and sincere spirituality attract Republicans in droves. (In Texas, California Congressman Duncan Hunter may have shown a similar strength, winning the straw poll with 40 percent of the vote.) … more
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