Posted by: SWL | January 5, 2012

Iowa Caucus Results Much As Expected; 2012 Campaign May Get More Interesting Now

I have tried to think of an interesting angle from which to write about the results of Monday evening’s Iowa Caucus, but I cannot find one. While it did take a lo-o-ong time to find out Mitt Romney won with eight more votes than Rick Santorum, things generally went as expected. In the last few polls Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul had been separated by less than the statistical margin of error, so any of the three could have won if Iowans voted according to their poll answers.

A few thoughts on the results:
– While everyone anxiously waited for the final 1% of the ballots to be counted, Ron Paul was largely forgotten. Although not far behind Romney and Santorum, he may have been the biggest loser Monday because he got little media attention.
– Mitt Romney’s speech at the end of the evening was pretty boring. It included comments I have heard him use word-for-word in other speeches. Santorum’s speech contained concepts and stories he has used before (e.g. his grandfather’s life in the coal mines), but he puts a different spin on them each time they are mentioned.
– To me, the most interesting thing to come from this is Michele Bachmann dropping out of the race, especially since she had said only a day or two before the caucus that she would be going on to South Carolina.

What happened to her anyway? It’s easy to see why some of the other candidates have not done well. Rick Perry made a few debate mistakes and slowly lost ground in the polls. Despite spending lots of money in Iowa, he did poorly because he did not spend lots time meeting with the people. Herman Cain dropped out of the race because of the stress of scandalous accusations. After a strong finish in the Florida straw poll, Newt Gingrich surged in the polls, then dropped quickly as more information about his political past was brought out by other candidates. Bachmann however, won the Iowa straw poll and has consistently had moderate success in the debates. I was surprised she did so poorly in Monday’s caucus.

I had thought that Santorum could not compete with Romney in New Hampshire. He cannot continue the schedule he kept in Iowa, visiting every county. But a little nugget of information in Monday night’s news coverage was that he already has campaign chairmen in every New Hampshire county. His biggest difficulty, according to some analysts, is that most of the television advertising time has already been purchased by other candidates. So Santorum must find other ways to speak to potential voters.

Despite political experts speculating about how soon Romney might wrap up the Republican nomination, another interesting piece of information I gleaned was that because the GOP has changed to a proportional method of awarding delegates, no one will have enough delegates for the nomination until sometime in April. There is another debate Saturday evening (airing on ABC) which will look quite different from earlier ones. It will be intriguing to see how Santorum responds to the inevitable harsh attacks from the remaining candidates. The process may finally be getting more exciting. As Santorum said Monday night: “Game on!”

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