Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Iowa Caucus – Romney Squeaks by with 8 Votes, Santorum 2nd, Ron Paul 3rd, Gingrich 4th – Perry 5th, to Texas to Reconsider - Analysis

Rick Santorum, the Iowa Surprise - "Game On" as the Anti-Romney heads to New Hampshire -image ABC News

Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts Governor and businessman has won the 2012 GOP Iowa Caucus by 8 votes with Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania Senator, finishing second in one of the most interesting GOP races in recent memory. Romney, who received 25% of the vote, along with Santorum, has yet to break out - away from the field of candidates and that 25% margin – a position he has held consistently through two attempts at a GOP nomination. Santorum, who had practically lived in Iowa for the past year, won a decisive victory for his efforts, while Ron Paul who has been repeatedly dismissed by the media and pundits came in third. Paul, who addressed his volunteers in Iowa appeared more than gratified with the results, and noted that the campaign was changing the way people viewed the value of the Fed and specifically noted a poll that was taken on the Gold Standard. It was difficult to tell what made Paul, a Texas Congressman and Libertarian, more satisfied, the finish in Iowa or the outcome of the poll, conducted in November by Rasmussen polling, which suggests a majority of American’s would prefer a return to the gold standard. Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House during the Clinton administration, finished with a respectable 4th in Iowa, the same position held by John McCain in 2008. Gingrich, who had run a positive campaign to date, was bombarded by negative and often misleading advertising by Romney Super PAC’s and Ron Paul’s campaign, managed to sustain the 4th place finish, coming in ahead of Texas Governor Rick Perry, who flew to Texas to reassess the campaign.
The candidates are now headed to New Hampshire, where the nations’ first primary will take place in less than one week.

Articles of Note:

Before speaking last evening, Romney’s Campaign removed a teleprompter so that Romney could “speak from the heart”. (Politico) Additionally, Romney received the endorsement of 2008 GOP Nominee, John McCain , a move which is not in the least surprising, considering both men are considered to be part of the more moderate, “establishment” wing of the GOP.

Newt Gingrich will be taking the gloves off running ads in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida, that will contrast his more Reaganesque stance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts moderate liberalism. Gingrich, who has to date, run only positive messages, would be better served by contrasting himself with Romney, who’s Reputation as Governor of Massachusetts is a far cry from Conservative in nature. The fact that negative ads have not deterred nor banished Gingrich, gives him the distinction of being the only candidate in the bunch to survive an onslaught, which was described by Iowa’s CBS Affiliate, KCCI’s team as results were coming in - there were three to four negative ads on Gingrich at every break for television advertising. (Paraphrased). The coverage provided by C-Span included two caucuses as well as local coverage by KCCI.

It is still anyone’s game at this point, with the biggest prize prior to Super Tuesday being the State of South Carolina, which as accurately produced the GOP nominee in its primary for the last 20 years.

The one poll that came the closest to calling the race, was from the 4 day rolling Final Iowa Poll by the Des Moines Register - being correct in the order of the candidates placements especially as the results changed in the final two days of polling –giving Santorum the edge over Paul – the percentages of the vote projected within the margin of error.

Santorum is, for now, the Anti-Romney, which in this bloggers mind, trumps the anti-Obama vote – a sentiment that is contrary to conservatives who have bought into the Romney as “anointed” front runner. That said, having lived in Massachusetts, have knowledge of the Romney message and inconsistencies over the years, there is little solid difference (including now the use of teleprompters) to suggest a contrast between the President and the former Govenor of Massachusetts. Of course, it is an option hat Romney has changed – again, and is a conservative in the vein of Olympia Snow, John McCain, etc.
Suggest reading impeccable research by South Coast Conservative (formally Massachusetts for Huckabee)

To Recap:

Romney cannot appear to pull more than 25% of the vote;

Romney needs a teleprompter

Santorum, with the backing of the former Huckabee Team, is now a serious contender

Ron Paul, do not discount Ron Paul, he has a following that may be as large or larger than the 2008 Obama Campaign (see this blogs article with links to Ron Paul’s Organization here. The man simply deserves respect.

Gingrich, is in the same spot as John McCain coming out of Iowa, and with Rick Perry reassessing his campaign in Texas, should the Texas Governor remove himself from the race, those votes may very well go to Gingrich, especially in South Carolina, setting up a 2008 scenario that has Santorum and Gingrich with Paul running well after Super Tuesday. If Mitt Romney cannot garner at least 25% of the vote in SC, the writing and the southern Super Tuesday States, expect a 2008 result.

Finally, are we living in the twilight zone? If anyone else notices, there has been a tremendous increase in the coverage of the Republican race, compared to prior general elections –so much so that it is anticipated to be part of the news at 6, news at 8 news at 10 and news at 11 - the comments received have indicated shock and the thought that either the media is finally understanding that there are actually two parties in the nation and by covering them equally, allows for more viewership, (knocking down Fox, which has become painful to watch, CNN is now the best election coverage), and better odds for advertisers. Will print catch on? Only time will tell.

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