January 4, 2:36 am (CST): Well, the votes have been tallied and posted …
1) Mitt Romney – 30,015 votes (24.6%)
2) Rick Santorum – 30,007 votes (24.5%)
Mitt Romney spent some money in Iowa, but Santorum ran an effective ground game. For all practical purposes, they tied for 1st place, but since we don’t like ties, the win goes to Mitt Romney by 8 votes.
3) Ron Paul – 26,219 votes (21.4%)
Ron Paul’s supporters developed a strategy of bringing in Democrats and Independents in a cross-over effort. In Iowa, caucus goer’s declare a political party as they enter the caucus. As such, his was essentially an effort to hijack the results. His campaign almost pulled it off, but in the end the best they could do was a strong 3rd place showing.
4) Newt Gingrich – 16,251 votes (13.3%)
Newt Gingrich, in spite of a recent surge in the polling, struggled to bring in a 4th place showing. Although not a strong finish which would have been preferred, he none-the-less heads to South Carolina (January 21) leading the polling and still a contender. Mitt Romney is expected to sweep New Hampshire next week, but the 2nd place finish is the prize there. Right now, Paul has the edge in polling there, but Gingrich is a contender for 3rd.
5) Rick Perry – 12,604 votes (10.3%)
Rick Perry did not get much of a return for his dollar investment in Iowa. He is not expected to do well in New Hampshire either, so his hopes lie with Gingrich in South Carolina. However, he is polling very poorly even there. Unless something dramatic happens over the next few weeks, Perry is no longer a contender.
6) Michele Bachmann – 6,073 votes (5%)
7) Jon Huntsman – 745 votes (0.6%)
For Bachmann and Huntsman, it is over. Time to pack up and call it day.
Update January 3, 8:52 am (CST): The Des Moines Register has a complete guide to the Caucuses and how they work.
Update 11:43(CST): And Donald Trump Has some strong feelings about Ron Paul in Iowa ….
On the eve of the Iowa Caucuses I wanted to start a post in preparation for the first “poll” that counts in the 2012 Election cycle. It has been something of a roller-coaster ride over the past 6 months with first one candidate and then the other rising to the forefront. The only consistency has been the “anybody but Romney” mood. However, all of the polling has shown him to hold a consistent 20 – 25% of the vote and that may well be enough to give him a win in Iowa. Why? Because conservatives have failed to coalesce around a conservative alternative.
So, here are my picks for the nomination in order of personal preference along with my opinion of their chances tomorrow.
1) Rick Perry – Although Perry surged and peaked in Iowa at the end of October, his polling dropped during his dismal early debate performances to below 10%. However, he has in recent weeks shown a slight but steady rise in the polling to a statistical tie with Newt Gingrich for a 4th place finish.
2) Newt Gingrich – Gingrich peaked out the second week of December at 31%, but has since plummeted in the polls after weeks of intense negative advertising from the Romney and Ron Paul camps. Right now, it is a statistical heat between he and Santorum for 3rd place, or Perry for 5th place. He seems to be more inclined to push Santorum out of 3rd at this point if the last 3 polls are any indication.
I did entertain Santorum as my 3rd pick for awhile, but after hearing some of his remarks the past few days, I really can’t call him a preference. I can certainly support him, Bachmann or Huntsman as the nominee, but I really would rather not.
Iowa is really all about the ground game. The person with the best ground game wins, in spite of the polling. If polling is all that is considered, then either Romney or Paul (God help us) are poised to take the 1st and 2nd place wins tomorrow evening. Then it is on to New Hampshire where both Romney and Paul are positioned to take 1st and 2nd respectively. Not the most desirable outcomes, but we always have South Carolina to look forward to.