Gov. Haley’s endorsement may not help Romney out that much

Posted by: ST on December 17, 2011 at 3:34 pm

In case you missed it, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley endorsed Mitt Romney for president yesterday – just a little more than a month before her state’s first-in-the-south Presidential primary. Will it help Mitt? The National Journal thinks so:

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s endorsement of Mitt Romney gives the ex-Bay State governor a crucial tea party imprimatur in a state that holds a critical Jan. 21 presidential primary. But Haley’s endorsement might be even more helpful by solidifying the perception that Romney’s campaign is on the rebound after a downturn.

Consider where Romney stood at the beginning of the week. Republicans and other critics were hammering him for offering Texas Gov. Rick Perry a $10,000 bet, and national polls showed Gingrich leading the GOP race by double-digits. The news was just as pessimistic in the Palmetto State: Romney trailed the ex-speaker of the House by 20 points there, according to an NBC News-Marist Poll. And on Tuesday, state party Chairman Chad Connelly questioned his commitment to the state.

The outlook for Romney is improving. National polls have shown Gingrich’s standing slipping (from 37 percent to 29 percent in roughly a week, according to Gallup), raising questions of whether Gingrich is following in the footsteps of onetime front-runners Perry, Herman Cain, and Michele Bachmann. Romney also turned in a strong debate performance Thursday night.

Haley’s support puts an exclamation mark on Romney’s revived prospects. He still is in a dogfight against Gingrich — nowhere moreso than in South Carolina, where his organization is still lacking. But Haley is a favorite of many conservative activists and could bolster his chances in the state that has voted for the eventual GOP nominee in every contested primary since 1980.

Maybe, but Haley’s also facing a backlash over her endorsement, if the reactions from conservatives on Facebook and Twitter, and in pundit world are any indication.   True, she backed Romney in 2008 and went on to become Governor of the state two years later thanks to a wave of popular support from SC conservatives, but Haley’s not the popular political figure she once was in South Carolina, if this poll is any indication.  Not only that, but if there’s one candidate the Tea Party despises the most, it’s Mitt, so her endorsement is not necessarily Mitt’s Golden Ticket to winning SC.

Also consider this: Prime time endorsements from prominent, news-making political figures are not an automatic indicator of a “sure win” – whether the endorser is popular or not.  Remember, Ted Kennedy created a stir in Democratic circles when he endorsed the young, politically inexperienced Senator Barack Obama in 2008 over longtime friend and political ally Hillary Clinton.  But in spite of the weight Ted Kennedy’s endorsement carried with liberal Democrats in Massachusetts and beyond, Hillary Clinton still won the Massachusetts primary handily.

As to poll numbers for the GOP presidential primary? Newt’s got a double digit lead average over Romney with just four weeks to go.  Of course, as we’ve seen many times this year already, it doesn’t take four weeks for a candidate’s campaign to take a nosedive but unless some blockbuster scandal breaks about Newt like it did for Herman Cain, I suspect all the effort in the world from HaleyCo. is not going to get a majority of SC conservatives to vote for Romney.  I don’t even think Senator Jim DeMint’s endorsement of Romney, if it were to happen, would make much difference. Southern conservatives are understandably hesitant about supporting a Yankee (heh) for political office – especially one who most realize is a “progressive” in conservative clothing.

As they say, stay tuned …

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7 Responses to “Gov. Haley’s endorsement may not help Romney out that much”


  1. Carlos says:

    “…especially one who most realize is a “progressive” in conservative clothing.”

    My point exactly about 1) anyone but Obama, 2) anyone but Obama or Paul, and 3) anyone but Obama, Paul or Romney.

    The only difference between Romney’s politics and Obhammud’s is the speed at which they’ll take us to “Utopia.”

    Newt may have warts, but as far as I’m concerned Romney is nothing more than a slower-growing cancer than Duh-1.

  2. Phineas says:

    I have a hard time criticizing Haley for this. He was among the the first to endorse her race for governor, after all, and favors are expected to be repaid in politics. It’s even possible that she thinks he’s the best choice, based on her honest assessment of the existing candidates.

  3. AJsDaddie says:

    Newt’s got warts a-plenty, but I could vote for him with less concern than voting for Romney. Besides, I just look forward to debates between Newt and Obama.

    I wish someone more conservative were doing better in the polls. But at this point, Newt is the better option. And e hold his feet to the fire as we continue to clean house in Congress.

  4. Drew the Infidel says:

    I would vote for Jack the Ripper before I would a commiecrat so I patiently await the GOP nominee so I can put a name with a vote.

  5. Dave B says:

    I don’t think the Haley endorsement would have much effect in and of itself but at some point we’re going to have to step back and re-evaluate. I’m a Tea Partier and a staunch conservative that happens to live in MA and what I’ve been reading and hearing about Romney just isn’t true. The guy is a conservative. He’s not a RINO because he ran as a Republican in Massachusetts. Why do that if you’re a “Republican in name only?” Why not run as a Democrat in an ultra liberal state? He cut taxes, balanced the budget, took us out of the red and put us in the black, and wore out his veto pen. Even “Romneycare” was his attempt to salvage what was inevitable in our state so we didn’t end up with “Kennedycare” or “Barneycare” with a business solution instead of something worse. People have conveniently forgotten that the Heritage Foundation supported mandates at that time and it was considered “the answer” to Health care reform at the time. He was bold enough to be the first and it didn’t work out quite so well so we’re all distancing ourselves from it. People in my state were demanding such a thing at the time and he did it for the people he was governing.

    He supported Tea Party candidates when it wasn’t so popular when they needed it most in direct contrast with the “Republican establishment”. Our favorite Tea Party governors (except Jindal) support Romney. Some of our favorite Tea Party politicians are endorsing him. Have they all lost their collective minds or are they seeing something that many outright refuse to see? Pawlenty, Christie, Thune, Haley, O’Donnell, and some others are not exactly left wing radicals. Most of them DO know what it takes to govern as opposed to just voting. Most conservatives in Massachusetts adore the guy because we know what he had to go through to accomplish conservative things in a liberal state where every few years another Democrat speaker gets indicted or goes to jail.

    If this election becomes all about our candidate and not about Obama and his policies we’re going to lose again. Nominating Newt or Ron Paul is just what the doctor ordered for Obama and crew. In an ironic twist Romney actually diffuses Obama in many ways. This is where we have the best of both worlds and don’t recognize it. We hate Obamacare and want it repealed. Romney will do that but they can’t argue that he doesn’t care about people or doesn’t have the knowledge about health care because he actually tried it. Does Obama want to go the “Wall Street” angle when he’s benefitted the most? They fear Romney the most almost certainly.

  6. scooter says:

    I’m afraid N Haley just had an instance of “foot, this is my gun….ouch!”
    I hate that The State has decided to attack her at every turn but I am afraid we have just another RINO in the Governor’s Mansion.

  7. Pogo says:

    Quote: “Even “Romneycare” was his attempt to salvage what was inevitable in our state so we didn’t end up with “Kennedycare” or “Barneycare” with a business solution …”

    That is exactly the worst of all possible results – a self proclaimed conservative who will round the corners off socialist programs just enough to make them acceptable, and instituted. Far better to leave that sort of treason to a known lefty, and let the results stay stuck to an accurate brand label. I’ll never vote for Romney, not in August or November.