So, Iowa has come and gone, and we have some fairly interesting results, in my opinion. Looks like Santorum and Romney came out essentially dead even with Paul in a close third. As I write this, the winner’s not yet decided, but really, it doesn’t matter in the overall picture. Romney surprised no one, Santorum suprised a lot of people, and Paul did exactly what the polls said he would.
Now, Iowa has a pretty good record of showing who’ll be the nominee historically on the Democratic side – but on the Republican side, they picked Huckabee (34%) over McCain (13%) in 2008, and Dole (37%) over Bush Sr. (19%) in 1988. They did get Dole right in 1996 and Bush Jr. in 2000, but if we go back further, they were wrong on Reagan as well. So we can’t really say that, at least recently, this is going to make a huge impact on the chances of those top 5 in regards to November’s results.
What it does do, however, is cut the field to five, and the hopeful field to four, since this was Perry’s best-polling state out of the first five. Bachmann and Huntsman are done, though I’m sure Bachmann will squeeze a few more dollars out of her supporters before tapping out, and anyone hoping for Cain to come back can fuggedaboutit. I think the most surprising thing to me is how strong Santorum polled – I suppose he’s the one receiving the majority of the “oh please don’t let it be Mitt” vote. Romney actually pulled the exact same showing as he did last year, which can’t be an encouraging start in his camp, given he has the huge advantage in name recognition and time spent.
But that Ron Paul… he over doubled his result from last year and came dangerously close to taking it. That’s a bit surprising to me, given how hard the media’s tried to ignore the guy. That said, he was polling ahead of both Romney and Santorum yesterday, though by a narrow margin, which means he’s not grabbing much of the undecided vote. He ended up gaining about 1% in the actual vote, where the other two made up about 6% each – that could be a problem for him going forward. Now, he’s currently polling second in New Hampshire, behind a heavily-favored Romney and just ahead of Gingrich – Santorum is only polling at around 3% there right now
Now assuming Paul stays steady, this makes me think that he may hold on to a strong position as he’s still polling top three in the next few states to hit their primaries, where Santorum and Perry are both doing terribly. Unless Santorum sees a big swing in those states soon, I’d expect Romney, Gingrich, and Paul to be the frontrunners by the end of the month – and given the media’s treatment of Paul thus far, that means we’ll be hearing a lot about Gingrich and Romney.
As it is, I’m already starting to consider Paul the least of the available evils – somewhere I didn’t think I’d see myself a few months ago. Oh what interesting times these are.