Skimpy budgets are cutting into the way states pay for schools, health care, and now — even primary elections.
At least six states are considering either canceling or delaying their 2012 presidential primaries, mostly to save money.
None of this will likely have much effect on the Democratic presidential candidate, expected to be President Barack Obama.
But it could cause trouble for moderate Republicans, by allowing a protracted battle and giving conservatives a louder voice, according to political analysts.
“The candidates are going to be falling all over themselves to appeal to the Republican base, which is very, very conservative, and the Tea Party people, and they could paint themselves into a corner there, taking positions that are far to the right of the swing voters,” said Alan I. Abramowitz, professor of political science at Emory University.