When do the candidates drop out?

We’re just 45 days out from the Iowa caucuses (believe it or not) but there are still ten serious candidates seeking the GOP nomination.

I bring this up because, in the 2008 cycle, we had already lost a few people when they realized the money wasn’t going to be there or they had no path to victory. This is going to be true among probably six or so of the 2012 contenders, but they soldier on regardless.

Perhaps this is because the person who was counted out a month ago may make a meteoric rise in the polls based on a campaign plank, a great debate performance, or just the fact they were viewed as the hot new item in public perception. Thus far, this phenomenon has benefited several candidates: Herman Cain (twice), Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and now Newt Gingrich. Even Tim Pawlenty had his turn, although once his down cycle arrived (at the peak of fellow Minnesotan Michele Bachmann’s cycle at the Iowa Straw Poll) he decided to exit the race. Way back when, before the race had really jelled together, Jon Huntsman had a turn at the wheel too. But by the time he actually announced that support was gone.

On the other hand, one has to wonder if the turns will ever come for guys like Gary Johnson, Buddy Roemer, or Rick Santorum. They continue to suffer from abysmally low poll numbers, and the question is now getting to be whether they’ll have the money or manpower to get their message out before it’s too late.

And you’ll notice I didn’t mention Mitt Romney or Ron Paul. It’s because both seem to have a narrow strata of support which ranges in the low twenties for Romney and right around ten percent for Paul. They don’t seem to deviate much from those plateaus, which begs the question of whether the field is too crowded for them right now. Presumably they can tread water until some of the bottom-feeders finally exit the scene.

I’m going to do a poll for a few days and see what you think will be the result of the coming shakeout. I think it’s interesting to speculate who just doesn’t have the horses to continue on.

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