I'd like to start by saying I support Newt, and so am not completely unbiased.
I have noticed that on Redstate there are a number of articles from folks to continue to propose that Perry has a path to victory. They suggest various ideas, which are wishfull thinking, and include:
- The idea Perry could come in 4th or worse in Iowa and still win the nomination. Perry's poll numbers in NH are horrible (2.3%). His numbers are also not compeditive in SC (8%), or nationally (7.3%). He has been spending his money. I'm not sure how they think he could win in SC, if he will not have money or resources or momentum to play there. If Perry finishes anything but 1st in Iowa, someone else will get momentum and money from a win in Iowa. Someone else will get momentum and money from a win in NH. By the time SC comes, Perry will be worse in the polls there than he is now, and he is already low (Perry - 8%, Gingrich 41%, Romney 22%, Bachmann and Paul around 6%, Santorum at 3%) .
- The idea that Perry could unify social conservatives in Iowa. Bachmann's and Santorum are both running hard for social conservatives. Santorum has been doing so his whole campaign. Paul attracks some social conservatives as well. Gingrich, despite his flaws, still is generally acceptable to most social conservatives. Despite his personal flaws, his actual record in public office has been very strongly pro-life and pro-family. Romney campaigned very hard in Iowa as a social conservative in 2008, and has some appeal to social conservatives also. Frankly, social conservatives have been very sought after this election. With the exception of Huntsman, the field is comprised entirely of candidates are are, generally speaking, socially conservative. Frankly speaking many voters want to vote for someone with a good chance at winning. Those who do not care about that, would just-as-likely support Santorum or Bachmann. (Santorum is 5.4% in Iowa, Bachmann at 9.2%, Perry at 9.6%) Bachmann has organization from her straw poll win. Even in the unlikely event that all Bachmann and Santorum supporters backed Perry, he still loses)
- The idea that Perry is winning debates. Perry had a good debate on the 10th. That said, so did Bachmann and Gingrich. No one -- even Perry -- is going to argue that he is a better debater than Newt. Perry is not going to win the nomination by being the best at debate. As he is a weaker debater, his best hope initially was that people would look at his impressive resume. Perry's strength was his record of job creation in Texas, and that he is a sitting governor twice re-elected. Perry's other strength was the idea that he would be electable both in the GOP primary and against Obama. His poor poll numbers suggest he is not the best campaigner. Once he dropped from the top of the pack, Perry lost one of his key sell points -- the idea he could beat Romney. Now Gingrich wins that arguement hands-down, as the alternative to Romney. There is no one who can reasonable say that Perry is a better campaigner or more likely to beat Romney than is Gingrich. The mere fact of the polls numbers makes the case against Perry.
Now, I support Newt, and he is the clear alternative to Romney. That said, if someone does not like Romney and does not like Newt, the 3rd place candidate right now is Paul. If someone also does not like Paul, that person is faced with the choice of which long-shot to pick. Huntsman, Perry, Bachmann, or Santorum. Frankly, Huntsman's biggest supporters appear to be Democrats. Bachmann, Santorum, and Perry combined have less than 20% of the vote. Even if Santorum and Bachmann left the race, Perry would still fall short of being able to win Iowa. He would fall short in NH, and in SC and in FL. I would not bet on Huntsman supporters backing Perry, but even if they did, he would fall short.
So, the bottom line is that Gingrich, Romney, and Paul have about 70% of the vote nationwide. In Iowa, they have 65% of the vote. In Iowa, Perry, Santorum, and Bachmann combine to 25% of the vote. Combined, they have less support than Gingrich alone. Huntsman is at 2%. COMBINED, in NH, Perry, Bachmann and Santorum have 6.5%. Not an average, but the sum of their support. Romney, Gingrich, and Paul have have 76% in NH. With Huntsman, it is over 85% of the vote. In SC, Perry, Bachmann, and Santorum have 17%. Gingrich has ove r 40%, Romney over 20%, and combined with Paul have about 70% of SC's vote.
Perry supporters should take a close look at Gingrich, Romney, and Paul. If they feel equally about all those candidates, Perry supports should vote for Perry. However, if someone is on-the-fence between the long-shot Gov. Perry, and one the leading candidates, it may be a good idea to back the more winnable candidate.
The race between Gingrich and Romnney is not importaint if you think they are carbon copies. However, if you feel one is better than the other, I suggest you strongly think about voting with your head and not your heart. Wishfull thinking for Perry will not change his odds. However, you support for Romney, Perry, or Paul may make a difference.
I say this with respect to folks who may dissagree. That said, I ask that people consider the facts and the actual poll numbers and history of this campaign before they decide who to support. Perry's poll numbers dropped as people got to know him. The debates hurt him. He had money and ran major add buys in Iowa, but polls the same as Santorum who lacks any money or campaign infustructure. Perry will likely lose Iowa, lose NH, lose SC, run out of money and drop out. He cannot weather a poor showing in Iowa. He has no support in NH to bounce back with and trails Gingrich in SC 5 to 1.
As a final statement, if you think Romney is not conservative enough, you don't like Paul on foreign policy, and you are not happy with Gingrich's personal life mistakes of 20 years ago, -- perhaps you need to start lowering your expectations. You will not find Mr. Perfect running in every election. Governor Perry, like Bachmann and Santorum, is not very likely to win. He has spent millions only to see his support drop. He may have alot of good qualities, but he is not the candidate that the people in his country are looking for. If you support him, good for you. However, support him based on a sane reason. Maybe you like him on the issues. Maybe you like his charector. Do not support him on the silly idea that he is more electable or has a serious path to victory. He has no more a chance of winning that does Bachmann or Santorum.