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That means she will be competing for a much smaller pool of social conservatives there and must broaden her appeal to moderates and independents if she hopes to do well in the nation’s first primary.

“There are a lot of candidates going for the evangelicals and social conservatives, so she is going to have to make her case to them that she is the most electable and then she has to broaden her spectrum and appeal to the fiscal conservative wing of the party,” said Steve Duprey, a Republican National Committee member from New Hampshire.

She is still a relative unknown in New Hampshire and is playing catch-up to several of the other campaigns, some of which have had some semblance of a ground operation in place for months — or in Mr. Romney’s case, years.

“The biggest hurdle is that she is starting late and a lot of the top-notch workers and campaign activists are divided up into other camps,” Mr. Duprey said, adding that a lot of first-time presidential candidates don’t understand that the “first time you run, you have to do hundreds of town-hall meetings and living-room parties.”

Dante Scala, a professor at the University of New Hampshire, suggested that Mrs. Bachmann’s path to victory could come directly from the 1996 playbook of conservative commentator Pat Buchanan, whose populist message and fiery oratory propelled him to a surprise victory.

“If she can consolidate most of the very conservative voters in the state, and get some help from either Pawlenty or Huntsman in splitting the centrist, somewhat conservative, vote with Romney,” she could have an impact, Mr. Scala said. “That said, one danger is that the better she does in Iowa, the more that N.H. voters might rally around Romney as the anti-Bachmann candidate.”