With only two states having voted, the finish line is in view for the Republican nomination for president. Political science professor Matt Streb at Northern Illinois University isn’t ready to call the race for Mitt Romney yet, but he says Romney is clearly in the driver’s seat after two small states, with South Carolina coming up on Jan. 21. Romney earned a narrow victory in the Iowa caucuses, and won the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday.
Streb says the current system leaves the big states out in the cold because it causes early attrition in the field of candidates. “By the time South Carolina’s over, you’re going to see a significantly different field than what you saw before South Carolina, or certainly before Iowa (Jan. 3),” he said. “Part of the problem is we talk about momentum so much that we’re already winnowing the field very quickly.”
But Streb says there’s no obvious solution to put the big states in play. It costs money to compete in the big states, no matter when they hold their primaries. The firs large state primary is Florida on Jan. 31. The Illinois primary is March 20, which Streb does not expect to matter, with the field of earnestly competing candidates for the nomination having already shrunk significantly.