I recently wrote about the changes that big states changing their primary date will have in terms of increasing the amount of money required and thereby creating a higher barrier to entry. But there’s are several strategy points here.
First, the schedule for all practices purposes would be IA followed by big states. This would mean that IA would set the tone and establish the field. If NH is only 1 week before CA or FL, then most of the people in CA or FL will already have made up their minds by Wednesday or Thursday before their elections. Therefore NH won’t matter.
In terms of GOP politics, Mitt Romney — who I predict will win IA after spending 1 week there — will benefit from the schedule. But NH, which McCain will win, will want a role and Bill Gardner may yet change the schedule. Again, a similar dynamic may apply on the Democrat side, although I think that Hillary’s money advantage still becomes prohibitive.
Therefore, here’s a prediction: If CA and FL move up their primaries, then NH will move ahead of IA. You read it here first.