With an increasingly front-loaded primary calendar, the big question for presidential candidates is whether the first few states are more or less important. Sen. John McCain’s campaign made clear it is betting on more important, reports Stephen Dinan of The Washington Times.
In a memo to campaign workers on May 7, the chief strategist said the cost of advertising across the nearly 20 states that could have primaries Feb. 5 would be $16 million for just one week — a huge expense for even the best-funded candidates and an uncertain one, given the nature of primary voters and caucusgoers.
“It is unrealistic to expect any of the campaigns to have sufficient resources to do what they would like to do in all of those states,” strategist John Weaver wrote in the memo.
The McCain folks think they are well-positioned to use the three early states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina to slingshot into the Jan. 29 Florida contest and then on to Feb. 5.
While former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani leads the national polls, Mr. Weaver pointed to state-by-state polling, which he called “the key to understanding the real dynamic of this race,” and said an average of polls conducted in April and May in those early states shows Mr. McCain leading in each — by one percentage point in Iowa, five percentage points in New Hampshire and six percentage points in South Carolina.