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How to Win Iowa: Stay Away

Best poll numbers go to candidates who meet voters least often
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2011 1:31 PM CST
Election 2012: For Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain, Not Going to Iowa, New Hampshire Is Working
Newt Gingrich speaks during a visit to the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., Friday, Nov. 18, 2011.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

(Newser) – The candidates leading the pack in Iowa and New Hampshire have an unusual strategy: they’re hardly visiting either state. Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain are topping early state polls, yet they’ve been more focused on their book tours than dropping in. Mitt Romney has spent a miniscule amount of time in Iowa, but he’s had poll success there, too, Politico reports. And the reverse is true: Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman, who have focused heavily on the two states, are still waiting for lift-off.

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It’s enough to make you wonder: "Does retail politicking even matter much anymore?" writes Maggie Haberman. Perhaps not: Voters are getting to see all the candidates at once in debate after debate, notes Iowa’s GOP chair, though he adds that "looking at candidate schedules going forward it seems at least that that retail level will pick up." The contenders will certainly have more reasons to be in Iowa: Two major debates are scheduled for next month—both in the state. (Read more Newt Gingrich stories.)

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