Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Michele Bachmann Quits the Race

In the wake of her sixth-place finish in the Iowa Caucus, Michele Bachmann announced that she was withdrawing from the race. As with Herman Cain's departure, the technical term used is "suspending" her campaign, but it's safe to say she won't return. Bachmann had put all of her time and resources into competing in Iowa, which also happened to be the state of her birth. In August, Bachmann won the Ames straw poll. When the time came to vote, the only person she beat was Jon Huntsman, who was expressly not competing there.

Once again, this reinforces Iowa's non-wildcard history, which we examined back in June. Iowans may flirt with an outrageous candidate for awhile--in this case bringing her to the top of the polls in the summer and giving her the win in the Ames straw poll--but when voting day approaches, Iowans shift toward electable candidates.

Bachmann's inherent weaknesses as a candidate, particularly her lack of electability, doomed her campaign from the beginning. Her early feud with Sarah Palin didn't help matters. Elephant Watcher never gave Bachmann more than a 3% chance of winning the nomination, and set her to 0% about six weeks ago.

Bachmann's departure should give a slight boost to other Anti-Romney candidates by distributing her votes among them. However, Bachmann was already polling badly in the rest of the early states, so there are few votes to distribute.