Quitters: Why a conservative exodus is bad for Romney

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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In a year of surprises, the notion that Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry might be on the verge of dropping out, after disappointing finishes in Iowa, is yet another. This would be a stark contrast to the way things played out in 2008.

Once the voting started on January 3, 2008, most of the GOP candidates battened down the hatches until and stuck it out through Florida. The result, of course, was that the anti-McCain vote was split.

My expectations were that this would repeat itself — that the conservative vote would splinter — and that Mitt Romney would win the nomination. After all, what’s the incentive for dropping out before, say, South Carolina?

Regardless, it appears the field is winnowing — and this could deal a huge blow to the campaign of Romney. Romney, of course, benefits from a crowded field of conservative anti-Romneys. A crowded field means the conservative vote is split, and therefore he can win with 25, or so, percent of the vote.

This could get interesting.

Matt K. Lewis