Given all of the discouraging trends of late for Mitt Romney, why do so many continue to assume he'll win the Republican presidential nomination? Jon Chait flagged some interesting tidbits about the former governor's principal rival.
Here are some things to keep in mind when assessing Rick Santorum's chances of beating Mitt Romney. He has no pollster, no campaign headquarters, and no paid advance staff. He's currently getting outspent on television in Michigan by a ratio of 29-1.You know the part of the campaign ad where the candidate identifies himself and says he approves this message? The completely ubiquitous feature of modern political advertising? Santorum's new ad seems to have forgotten it.He also failed to get his name on the ballot in such states as Virginia and Indiana. Perhaps you have heard of them.
I initially thought Jon was exaggerating, and that Santorum's operation couldn't possibly be this bad, this far into the process. The description, however, is largely true -- ABC News reports that as recently as Monday morning, Santorum didn't have a national press secretary, a national headquarters, a pollster, or any paid advance staffers to ensure his campaign events run smoothly.
It's one of the reasons the former senator looked like he was telling campfire ghost stories at an event in Tacoma this week -- there was no staff to arrange quality lighting.
To be sure, voters generally don't know or care about such details, and it's hard to imagine a voter in Michigan thinking, "Well, I was going to vote for Santorum, but now that I know he doesn't have an advance staff, forget it."
But successful national campaigns need a structure to function, and at this point, it appears Santorum is just barely getting by with what can generously be described as a skeleton crew.
From the perspective of a Romney campaign supporter, I imagine there's two ways to look at this: (1) if the top GOP challenger has no meaningful organization, Romney's a shoo in for the nomination; or (2) it's mid-February, and the ostensible Republican frontrunner is losing to a guy with no staff, no pollster, and no headquarters.