Presidential Candidates Pulling the Plug; Who is Next?

Should I stay or should I go? That is the pressing question facing many 2016 presidential hopefuls in pursuit of the White House.

On Friday, Lincoln Chaffee dropped out of the Democratic primary race. The former Rhode Island Governor made the announcement at the DNC's annual Women's Leadership Forum in Washington D.C.

"As you know, I have been campaigning on a platform of Prosperity Through Peace but after much thought I have decided to end my campaign for president today.”

Chafee is the second Democratic candidate to end his presidential bid this week; on Tuesday Virginia Senator Jim Webb also bowed out.

“On the Democratic side you have seen two people say goodbye so far and I think Hillary and Bernie will stay,” said Bob Shrum, a seasoned Democratic consultant and Warschaw Professor of Politics at University of Southern California. Shrum says he is not surprised by the recent Democratic departures and anticipates one more.

“I assume Martin O’Malley will stay until he runs out of money which I assume will be right before or after Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.”

When it comes to the GOP field, a new Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll released Friday points to a new leader in Iowa. GOP candidate Dr. Ben Carson surged to the number 1 position with 28%, beating out former front-runner Donald Trump with 19%. Carson is up 10 percentage points since late August while Trump is down by 4 points. Texas Senator Ted Cruz picks up 10%, Florida Senator Marco Rubio is at 9% and Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has 5%.

“Most people don’t know the blood and sweat that goes into a presidential campaign it is really hard to tell people to drop out, it is a pride swallowing experience."

- Ford O’Connell, Republican strategist

In a statement obtained by Fox News, the Bush campaign explained the decision to realign and cut staff, “We are moving our resources into the states to ensure that voters in primary and caucus states are introduced to his record and vision for the future.”

Reevaluating campaign resources could be a good idea for some candidates. The new poll also explored who should exit the 2016 race. When asked which GOP candidates they would like to see drop out, a whopping 25% of prospective Iowa voters chose Donald Trump. Tied at 22% are former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. Following closely behind with 21% is former New York Governor George Pataki.

“Most people don’t know the blood and sweat that goes into a presidential campaign it is really hard to tell people to drop out, it is a pride swallowing experience,” said Ford O’Connell, Republican strategist and former adviser on the 2008 McCain-Palin presidential campaign.

“The next two weeks will be very important for Chris Christie and Huckabee. Rand Paul really needs to start focusing on defending his Senate seat, Bobby Jindal: how’s he ever going to gain ground? Pataki, Graham and Gilmore I see nothing and Rick Santorum the 2016 competition is not 2012, the votes that you got back then weren’t for you they were anti Romney votes.”

O’Connell says Carson, Trump, Fiorina and Rubio are doing well for the time being. While Bush is playing a long game for a win and Ohio Governor John Kasich must step up soon.

“Kasich really needs to win in New Hampshire if he wants to gain any sort of momentum. If he doesn’t I would tell him Governor Kasich if you don’t do well we have to pull the plug,” said O’Connell.

Making a comeback on the campaign trail is possible. O’Connell says candidates are currently in the personality phase of the campaign and voters feel charisma is more important than substance at this point.

“Donald Trump has changed this whole campaign it is now completely personality driven and people want to fall in love not fall in line.”

As the race moves forward voters will start to focus more on the general election and really begin to visualize who they see as the future president. He says getting into the White House as Commander in Chief is not the end goal in every presidential campaign.

“Not all candidates are in it to win it, some want books, media deals, name recognition, a potential run for a different seat down the road or another presidential run.”