Wednesday, 4 January 2012

IOWA - BIG NIGHT FOR ROMNEY & SANTORUM


So.....the Iowa Caucus is over for 2012. The result was delayed due to higher voter turnout than previous years & what has been described as the closet Primary contest in history. Eventually Mitt Romney defeated Rick Santorum by 8 votes. A statistical tie as per the below:

Romney - 30,015 - 25%
Santorum - 30,007 - 25%
Paul - 26,219 - 22%
Gingrich - 16,251 - 14%
Perry - 12,604 - 11%
Bachman - 6,073 - 5%


As mentioned in my previous post, Iowa doesn’t really indicate who will be the nominee, what is does do, is winnow out the field.

What have we learned from the results?

Clearly, we have learned one thing; the ‘Anti-Romney’ camp is real and is an authentic hindrance to his path to the nomination.
In the Iowa Caucus of 2008, he (Romney) garnered 29,949 votes and finished second to Governor Mike Huckabee, that means he has essentially gained only 66 Iowa votes from four years ago.
It’s understandable that Romney suffered from lack of name recognition in 2008, but he has been running for President for more than four years now, written a book and kept his name in the public eye for all that time, so you’d think he would increase his vote share substantially.
With Romney ‘winning’ the caucus last night, it will assist him in the road ahead. He cleverly played down expectations in Iowa, successfully faced off challenges from a variety of candidates during the debate season & looked Presidential in the process. The question remains as to how he fares in the forthcoming debates, with desperate rivals looking to shoot him down. He also cannot get the Conservatives to embrace him. There has to be some serious outreach in the coming weeks and months, otherwise the base of the party won’t be able to help him down the line. I am convinced that the base of the party will support him, if he’s the nominee.

For Santorum, he peaked at just the right time. The fact of the matter is, Iowans do cherish Social Conservatism and he is the poster boy for that bloc of voters. With an extremely volatile field which saw ‘Non- Romney’ candidates gaining and crashing on a daily basis, he saw an upsurge in popularity as Iowans trusted him and knew he wouldn’t ever let them down. What helped him most was spending the last 12 months, almost daily in Iowa visiting every city, village and town hall there was to see. He ran an old fashioned campaign, didn’t spend over the top with TV ads but understood the caucus goers and local issues.
The question is what momentum, if any, can he take from this surprise result. I think it will give him more legs and certainly keep in play for a few more rounds. It’s easy to focus on just one state for a year, but when you have consecutive states to visit, you become stretched.
If you have money, which he will certainly have more of; he will be able to get his message out more than before. The key for him is the upcoming debates. With his new status as a ‘real contender’ individuals will look at him more than ever. Will he be able to withstand the scrutiny near the top of the field? Another issue is that he is in single digits in the majority of the National Polls. Will the Iowa bounce ensure a surge in New Hampshire and beyond? Time will tell.


One thing that is for certain: Ron Paul will not be the nominee. Even if he would’ve won last night, he’s still a fringe candidate who folks think is ‘nutty’. Iowa was his best chance of winning a primary and he fell short. In spite of all the polls, fliers, adverts and supposed good ground game, Ron Paul wasn’t able to get the job done. The result showed that he has a core group of voters but that’s pretty much it. He will continue to be an effective protest vote in other states but he will struggle to do anything in New Hampshire, South Carolina & Florida.

A question was raised about a third party run for Mr. Paul but I think with his son, Rand Paul, a sitting senator for Kentucky, he wouldn’t want to jeopardise any chances of advancing his career and agenda. One thing seems apparent, Ron Paul won’t be insisting that his followers support the eventual nominee and I doubt they would if he instructed them.

With respect to Gingrich, it is rather interesting. 10 days ago he was flying at the top of the charts and was supposedly on the verge of winning the nomination. Since then he’s been savaged by associates of Ron Paul & Mitt Romney with a slew of negative ads. His showing of 14% gives him a little more life and he will now go ‘gung-ho’ in New Hampshire & South Carolina to regain some momentum.
He is still the most experienced candidate in the race and his solutions based candidacy will stand him in good stead in the coming weeks. For Gingrich the next debate is crucial. He must reassert himself; like he did in November & December, otherwise he is cooked.

Rick Perry performed rather poorly with 11%, and after the results were declared, Perry said he was going back to Texas to ‘reassess’ his campaign (take what you want from that line). He has struggled since the debates and clearly wasn’t prepared to deal with hype of a national campaign. In the last few weeks, the real Perry has started to show up and get people excited, unfortunately, it has been too late. He was the default leader when he entered the race, but has struggled since his ‘oops’ moment at the CNBC debate in West Des Moines, Iowa.
His candidacy has been a massive shame, as he had one of the brightest messages in the field. Texas is soaring at the moment and he could’ve showcased to the American people, what can happen when you adopt core conservative principles in local government.



What do you say about Michelle Bachman? After winning the Aimes Iowa Straw Poll in August of last year, taking a 26% of the vote, she was only able to take home 5% from the Iowa Caucus last night.
What happened after that Straw Poll victory? She left the state for a month!
Someone advised her, poorly, that she should broaden her base and go to alternative states to raise money and attention. After she did that, along with arrival of Rick Perry, her poll numbers collapsed. Where Santorum spent a year in Iowa, Bachman appear to slap Iowans in the face when she left Iowa for a month. Her campaign will come to a close by the end of the day.
She now has her own mountain to climb in as she seeks re-election in her Minnesota's 6th congressional district. She has spent the last 18 months rambling on about being a native Iowan, who understand all the issues. For the electorate in Minnesota, that could be perceived as a ‘slap in the face’ and her poll numbers have slipped in her state.
She needs to focus on being the pure conservative in the House of Representatives and ensure that the eventual nominee has all the support they need to beat Obama in November.


The Conservative Candidate & Moving Forward



I expect that it will be Newt Gingrich & Rick Santorum vying for the Conservative Vote. With Perry all but out & Bachman now out of the picture, there is a vacuum and it has to be about those two, which is essentially a mini-primary. With 16% to play with, who will take the most from Perry and Bachman? My guess it will be slightly in favour of Gingrich as he has more cash and is polling better nationally.
New Hampshire is looking solid for Romney. He is polling at 41% on average and has been polling very well for months. I expect that Romney will win the primary handsomely on the 10th January. Owing to Iowa, Santorum will improve on his 4% average; with a debate coming up Newt will increase his numbers as well.

As we go into New Hampshire,Romney is the one looking good.

January 7, 2012 is the next debate in New Hampshire, sponsored by ABC News. 9pm ET

January 8, 2012 is the final New Hampshire debate sponsored by NBC News. 9am ET

January 10, 2012 is New Hampshire Primary.

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