Skip to comments.What the Iowa Caucuses Determined
Posted on 01/06/2012 6:19:31 AM PST by Kaslin
Political analysts are scratching their heads trying to figure out how Mitt Romney won first place in the Iowa caucuses since the state is highly evangelical, he did not campaign heavily there, and his share of support in the polls has remained steadily at just under 25 percent. They are also trying to figure out why Rick Santorum surged from a lower-tier candidate to almost tying Romney. Looking at the personalities and the events leading up to the caucuses, the results are not as surprising as they superficially appear at first glance.
The polls in Iowa correctly showed Santorum surging the last few days prior to the election, surpassing Ron Paul and almost catching up to Romney. The left-leaning media has tried to create a perception that evangelicals have a problem with voting for a Mormon candidate, but most evangelicals knew better. Disagreeing with someones religion is not the same as voting them into a secular political office - especially if the candidate is not running on a theocratic platform. There was little evidence of Mormon bias in the election results; the evangelical vote split several ways with 32% for Santorum, 18% for Ron Paul, and 13% each for Romney, Gingrich and Perry.
The heavily Democratic media should look at itself for Mormon bias. A Gallup poll last year found that Democrats were more likely to have a problem voting for a Mormon as president than Republicans. 27% of Democrats said they would not vote for a Mormon president, compared to only 18% of Republicans who would not.
The Republican presidential candidates were on a fairly even playing field this year, since most candidates had at least a couple of prominent negatives. This made it more difficult for Republican primary voters to decide upon a candidate. Romney was not as conservative in his earlier years as Massachusetts governor, and his MassCare healthcare system frequently is confused with ObamaCare. There are a few issues Gingrich doesnt seem so conservative on, such as working for Freddie Mac and launching a television ad with Nancy Pelosi about global warming. Rick Perry made a few too many gaffes during the presidential debates and continued to defend his soft position on illegal immigration. Rick Santorum has not quite mastered the presidential persona yet, which combined with voting for Medicare Part D, supporting Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey for Senate and an inability to raise adequate funding has hurt him. Michelle Bachmann has a great record on the issues, but also lacks an ability to fundraise and was unable to sustain a national ground team. Ron Paul takes a liberal non-interventionist position on foreign policy which is a huge strike against him in this era of terrorism. Jon Huntsman is virtually unknown, considered too moderate, and didnt bother to campaign in Iowa.
Due to Romneys prior experience running for president, he had the best ground team in place early on, providing him with a substantial base of support. However, it also made him appear to be the establishment John McCain moderate Republican to beat. In one of the oddest developments ever to come out of a presidential primary, the conservative base switched their support between seven other candidates in succession choosing Pawlenty, Bachmann, Perry, Cain, Gingrich, even Paul to some extent, then Santorum. Santorums late surge coincided with the Iowa caucuses, partially a result of his efforts exclusively focusing on that primary. Santorum attended more than 350 campaign events in Iowa over 105 days, whereas Romney attended only 38 events during 19 days.
Of the Republican presidential candidates, Ron Paul has the most fervent supporters and their efforts paid off, launching him into the top three vote-getters despite his unpopular views on foreign policy. However the most important revelation from the caucuses was that Paul only came in third place. The Democrats launched a Blue Republican effort in order to manipulate the Republican primary into electing Ron Paul. In Iowa, voters can show up the day of the caucuses, register as Republicans, and vote. The fact the Democrats did not pull this off for Paul in Iowa is evidence they are not as active and organized as they were the year Obama was elected. This bodes well for the GOP later this year in the general election.
So far Romney has made few mistakes and has ran the race like a tortoise versus the many hares. Unlike the other candidates, he has both the field team in place and the funding. He looks presidential and his voice sounds like Ronald Reagan. He is leading in the New Hampshire polls, where the primary is just six days away. On January 21, the third primary will be held in South Carolina. No Republican candidate has won South Carolina who has not won either Iowa or New Hampshire. Santorum may get a boost in funding due to his strong showing, but he also needs a strong field team, which he is lacking due to putting all of his efforts into Iowa.
To the seasoned political veteran, it would seem that Romney has the GOP nomination wrapped up. However, one wild card could be Newt Gingrich. Ironically, Gingrichs brilliant strategic mind, which could pull him back up in the polls, is what has been his downfall so far. Buried with his think tanks, writing and book tour, he has not had the time to devote to the campaign that Romney has. It may not be too late. Gingrich will be running a full page ad in the New Hampshire Union Leader attacking Romney as too moderate. In addition to his intelligence, Gingrich is the only other candidate in the race with an immense amount of charisma. He has a significant lead in the polls in South Carolina. In past elections, the candidate who wins South Carolina has gone on to win the Republican nomination.
The Iowa caucus merely cemented in place what was already happening. There were few surprises this year; the polls were accurate. Romney captured the same counties he did in the 2008 presidential election, and Santorum took most of the counties Mike Huckabee won last time. The candidates who were behind in the polls are now seriously considering dropping out; Michelle Bachmann was the first to leave. If the lesser-performing candidates drop out and endorse someone like Gingrich, it could drastically change what is shaping up to be a very predictable primary.
1. Some evangelicals obviously do drink, because many had to be hung over from New Year's Eve..no other way to explain why so many of them voted for Mitt and Paul.
2. If we are to allow Iowa to continue with this idiocy of being first in the country..IOW, the statwe that shapes the field..the first cut..there is NO way we should allow anyone ( Dems and Inds) to vote....they can just show up the day and change their registration.
Iowa has about the same percentage of evangelicals as the national average, but Iowans are far more likely to belong to mainstream liberal denominations.
Romney’s support came from party regulars; affluent suburban areas went for Romney.
I’m betting that a good due portion of the same day voters were dems.
The dems really want Romney to be the nominee because he can’t beat Obama.
That’s why the media is going easy on Romney at the moment.
He’s who they want for an oppponent.
That's a pretty screwed up process.
If Texans support a candidate with ACTIONS and MONEY, their candidate would never drop out because of Iowa. McCain didn’t win Iowa. Heck, Reagan didn’t win Iowa.
I know some would like only multi-million dollar candidates to compete only in the media, but the GOP wisely thinks otherwise.
Romney only won 17 out of 99 counties. Unfortunately most of those counties were the population centers. It wasn’t the evangelicals that voted for Romney, it was the urban/suburban voters.
Here’s what I think Iowa really determined:
1) Romney is just as we’ve been saying he is the whole time — stuck in the mud with only about 20-25% of the voters preferring him. His tactic remains to simply lay back and let the other candidates self-destruct (with some behind-the-scenes helping of that, of course). If you add the Santorum + Gingrich + Perry + Bachmann totals together (supports of these candidates are unlikely to switch to Romney, though not so likely to switch to one of the other three either), he trails that block by a 2:1 margin.
2) As predicted, the “not-Romney” of the moment at the time of the Iowa caucuses was going to benefit the most. Santorum fell into this slot via attrition and therefore got the benefit. and the funding boost that goes with it. Can he stand the meat grinder that has dispensed with pretty much every other challenger?
3) Despite an “operation chaos” mentality, Paul only managed 3rd, though a very respectable 3rd. He’s unlikely to see such success in NH, SC, or FL, though.
4) Gingrich is down, but not out. If he can make a 2nd-place showing in NH (or even a surprise win over Romney), place well in SC, and win FL, he still has a real chance.
5) Perry never managed to regain his footing after some poor debate performances. Whatever his merits (or lack thereof), he simply isn’t taken seriously enough to be a contender.
6) Bachmann was finally forced to face the reality that she was not a serious candidate, no matter how many times she said she was. Her whole strategy hinged on winning Iowa, and she finished dead last among those who actually ran an Iowa campaign of any note.
Looking forward to NH, I don’t really see it as make-or-break for anyone, given that the expected result is a home-state win for Romney. An upset win by someone else hurts Romney, but not as much as significant losses in SC and FL will.
Perry, Gingrich, and Santorum all need to do well in SC or they’re finished.
By the time we’re through FL, I expect it to be last man standing of Santorum/Gingrich/Perry (likely on of the first two) against Romney, with Paul still running a nuisance campaign.
I don’t know if you saw this the other day, but Paul was asked by someone in the news if he wanted to be president and he replied “not really” So if he doesn’t really want to be president, then why is he running for the office?
No single state should have that much influence at the beginning of the primary process. Either have a single one-day primary for all states, or regional primaries.
I dont know if you saw this the other day, but Paul was asked by someone in the news if he wanted to be president and he replied not really So if he doesnt really want to be president, then why is he running for the office?
Are you sure you have that right?
The quote I saw was that he was asked if he saw himself in the oval office, not did he want to be president, when he answer Not really.
That’s quite a different question than do you want to be prez.
In other words, the dem ‘same day’ voters.
And independents. We had alot of switchers in ours.
In other words, don’t even consider candidates who don’t have tens of millions of dollars before the process starts...
How do you conclude this? Has the other model even been considered? If not, why do you think starting in Iowa solves the problem of candidates who have little money? Is it better to spend all your money in one state in the hopes of gaining traction, or doing it regionally or nationally for the same buck?
According to one report, Santorum spent $22,000 in Iowa. Bachmann nearly lived here for months. Think either could have competed in a multi-state primary?
Iowa didn’t have a caucus straw vote before 1980. Alaska and Hawaii have had earlier caucuses. States used to be jealous for their interests, sending ‘favorite son’ delegations to conventions where deals were made in smoke-filled rooms.
Iowa doesn’t exclude losers. Candidates decide that for themselves based on available money and support.
That's easy - if the GOP paid for all election costs, they could have any kind of primary they want, on any day they want.
Instead, the GOP depends on state taxpayers to subsidize GOP primaries.
In Iowa, for instance, hundreds of public buildings are used for the Caucus.
Security, custodial work, lights, heat, etc., etc., are all paid for by Iowa taxpayers.
That's why Iowa - and every other state - sets the rules for the GOP primary.
In sharp contrast, for the 2011 “Iowa Straw Poll” the GOP rented the Ames Civic Center and charged people to enter.
The Straw Poll was conducted exclusively by GOP rules, not Iowa rules.
There is NO reason why the National GOP cannot charge a $5.00 “Poll Tax” and hold a one day Mail-In or Internet primary election, and limit voters to just registered Republicans.
There is no reason why the Iowa GOP cannot charge a $15.00 “Poll Tax” and rent thousands of buildings in Iowa, and limit voters to just registered Republicans.
Town Hall proving again that it’s the favorite hub of the low IQ conservatives. The idea that Newt “didn’t have time to campaign” because of his “think tanks” is profoundly stupid. The bizarre assertion that Romney “sounds like Ronald Reagan” made me throw up in my mouth a little.
What the Iowa caucuses told us was that enough Iowans, and probably other Republican voters, were gullible enough to hand Romney exactly what he wanted, a Santorum surge that threatens to kill off Romney’s only serious competitor, Newt Gingrich, and split the conservative vote so that Romney can win even longshot states like SC with only a small plurality. Santorum, a weak and easily beatable Huckabee-like candidate, is God’s and the voters’ gift to Romney.
Not to mention the suggestion that Ron Paul not winning shows “Democrat weakness” because they didn’t successfully pull off an “Operation Chaos” and put him on the top of the polls...is beyond goofy.
Not to mention, Ron Paul did get over 14,000 more votes this time. It’s been totally underreported how much Paul surged compared to Romney who stayed totally flat. I’d kind of like to know the reason for that myself. Democrat insurgents, him getting more people from his usual demographics, or expansion into different constituencies?
2012 Iowa Ron Paul 26,219 21.4%
2008 Iowa Ron Paul 11,841 9.93%
You can not blame Townhall for it, you have to blame the author who wrote it. Townhall only published it. The author btw is entitled to her opinion and we can agree or disagree with her