Courtesy of one friend, an old pro, three perhaps overlooked points in the sea of analysis of South Carolina and beyond:
“I notice that everyone’s citing all kinds of reasons for S.C.: Romney overconfident, Perry’s endorsement, Romney doesn’t connect, Barnes’s argument that Romney needs a ‘big idea.’ Lost in all this it seems is one name: Sarah Palin. First time she has expressed herself in the race and her candidate wins by 12. If she really comes out for Newt, look out.
Some endorsements, even informal semi-endorsements, do make a difference. Others, well, not so much. I guess it depends on the credibility of the endorser, no?
Update: (h/t ramorywebb) More on Governor Palin’s influence in South Carolina from the HuffPo, of all places:
During an appearance Tuesday on Fox News’ “Hannity,” the former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate said that if she were a South Carolinian, she would “vote for Newt.” Although it was not a formal endorsement for Gingrich, and she made no campaign stops in support of the former speaker, it may have been an important stamp of approval in a state where 65 percent of primary voters support the Tea Party movement.
Less successful were former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s high-profile endorsers, whose influence was not enough to sway South Carolina voters. Gov. Nikki Haley, who swept into office on a wave of Tea Party support, reportedly shocked her base by backing Romney last month. Exit poll data showed that Tea Party supporters overwhelmingly supported Gingrich in Saturday’s primary.
Another Romney supporter, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, has also been a staple at Romney events. Christie, who endorsed Romney in October, was also apparently unable to capture the attention of the state’s Tea Party voters. The governor’s relatively moderate record has led some to question his ability to court his party’s more conservative base should he decide to pursue a presidential candidacy of his own in the future.
Update II: Nice catch from C4P commenter “gwspfan”. I see no need to pile on so I’ll simply post it without comment: