Back on October 23, I asked, "Is Romney Losing the Iowa Expectations Game." I was ahead of the curve, as the topic is being debated today here, here, and here.
Here's an excerpt of what I wrote:
... the expectations are now set that Romney has spent so much time and energy in Iowa that the candidate who finishes in second-place should still be far behind Romney. In short, it's not enough for Romney to win; he has to devastate his opponents. That's setting the bar pretty high.
The theory is that by working so hard in Iowa, Romney may have inadvertently created a situation in which there is little upside to winning, and where finishing second would be devastating.
Let's suppose Mike Huckabee, for example, finishes close behind Romney, in second place, while spending a fraction of the money. Huckabee's team might then spin the results and argue they actually won Iowa. Of course, if this were effective, it might also diminish the bump Romney would receive coming out of the state ...
... Is there such a thing as working too hard? Maybe. By raising expectations, Mitt Romney may have created an atmosphere in which a mere win may not be satisfying ...
It seems to be happening.