Santorum’s Endorsement Problem

Posted on February 28, 2012 by

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John Bernstein at the Washington Post has an interesting take on endorsements

We often think of these high-profile endorsements as important because they eventually affect voter behavior. That’s sort of true, although not usually in a direct way; very few voters will wait to see who their governor supports in order to make their own decision. Instead, endorsements generally work indirectly, by giving candidates resources, including money and positive publicity. Moreover, high-profile endorsements are generally indications of more broad-based support among party actors.

But endorsements are also bets that a particular candidate will do well (it’s rare for there to be any incentive to back a likely loser), and they’re bets made by people with inside information. Senators, governors and members of the House either know each of the serious presidential candidates personally or, at most, are at just one remove from them. The governors of Michigan and Arizona probably have someone they trust who has worked with Rick Santorum and has strong opinions about him. And what they’re hearing, apparently, isn’t anything good for Santorum. And it’s not just them: The key indicator here is that even those who are publicly complaining about the lack of a solidly conservative candidate just haven’t shown much interest in supporting Santorum.

I saw this at an opportune time as I’ve spent all week trying to find mainstream and high-profile Santorum for some research, which has not gone very well.  By now it is obvious that Santorum does not have ‘establishment’ backing.  Yet all this said, Santorum is still 50-50 to win the Michigan primary tomorrow.  So it is also obvious that there is an ‘invisible’ force out there so to speak, that’s keeping Santorum viable.  I say ‘invisible’ as these groups are hard to measure due to lack of high-profile endorsements–heavy hitter religious right personalities like Mike Huckabee, Ralph Reed, et. al. have not endorsed either way.  At the grassroots level, Santorum’s strongest constituency–evangelicals, is also hard to measure due to legal barriers. 

Michelle Malkin, a prominent conservative voice that has endorsed Rick Santorum.

 
 
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