National Feature

Duke Democrats Iowa Caucus Roundup

WRITTEN BY: DAVID WINEGAR

Final Results of the Iowa Caucus
Mitt Romney 30,015  24.6%
Rick Santorum 30,007  24.5%
Ron Paul 26,219  21.4%
Newt Gingrich 16,251  13.3%
Rick Perry 12,604  10.3%
Michele Bachmann 6,073  5%
Jon Huntsman 745  0.6%
Herman Cain 58  0%
Buddy Roemer 31  0%
No Preference 135  0.1%
Other 117  0.1%

The numbers show a virtual tie between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. Santorum, who was expected to do the worst of all the serious candidates, ended up coming within eight votes of winning it all. It is projected that Mitt Romney will take 13 delegates and Santorum the remaining 12, shutting Ron Paul out completely despite his strong showing.

The Republicans are casting around for anyone but Romney, and they have failed to find anyone that will stick. Now that Michele Bachmann has dropped out, every single major candidate has led the polls at some point. Nothing about Rick Santorum suggests he will be any different, from his antediluvian views on birth control to his Google problem. He successfully captured the evangelical vote in Iowa, but he is extreme even for today’s GOP. Once he falters, there may be no one else left to take up the mantle of “not Mitt Romney.” I can only hope for a guerilla, Ron Paul-style campaign from Rick Santorum—just imagine signs saying “Google Santorum” everywhere.

Mitt Romney failed to do even as well as he did in 2008, dropping half a percentage point and drawing slightly fewer voters. If he can’t convince Republicans that he is their man after 4 straight years of campaigning, he may have more trouble getting the nomination than his win in Iowa suggests. However, the weak field means he still has the best chance of securing the nomination.

Ron Paul did better than expected, but he didn’t get the win or second place finish that he needed. His strong support among young people likely won’t carry him anywhere except to a possible libertarian or third party candidacy. He has not yet proven he can win, and his combination of insane views on the Fed with his supposed civil libertarianism (never mind that he opposes abortion and wrote legislation to allow the 50 states to trample on basic rights) are perfect for attracting a rabid fan base and alienating everyone else.

Rick Perry, whom according to various reports spent around $360 per vote (Romney spent around $49, Santorum around 73 cents), will not make it to Super Tuesday. His awful debate performances sunk him in a primary season that was dominated by debates, and it seems many Republicans have a sneaking suspicion that he is George W. Bush without the intelligence or speaking skills.

Finally, the failure of Newt Gingrich showed that it is possible to destroy a candidate with attack ads, given that there is enough dirt on the candidate as there is on Gingrich. Despite leading in the polls a few weeks ago, his swift fall has ultimately pushed him out of the race.

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