Does Iowa’s caucus predict a win for Romney in 2012? What’s the aftermath?

EDIT: The original count was wrong, and the real winner is Rick Santorum with 25%, closely followed by Mitt Romney with 25%, and Ron Paul with 21%; however, they all still have the same number of delegates, so it seems to not be such a big deal after all…

The Results are in and Mitt Romney wins by a hair in the 2012 Iowa Caucus. With only 8 more votes over Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul only a few percentage behind them both, making this the closest Iowa Caucus in history. In reality though, all three received exactly 7 delegates each, for a 3 way tie; the GOP race is starting out to be a very close one.

The Iowa Caucuses are commonly recognized as the first step in the U.S. presidential nomination process for both the Democratic and the Republican Parties. They came to national attention in 1972 with a series of articles in The New York Times on how non-primary states choose their delegates for the national conventions. However, historically speaking, the winner of the Iowa Caucus has been a poor predictor of who will become president. For example:

In 1980, George H. W. Bush campaigned extensively in Iowa, defeating Ronald Reagan, but ultimately failed to win the nomination. In 1988, the candidates who eventually won the nominations of both parties came in third in Iowa. In elections without a sitting president or vice president, the Iowa winner has gone on to their party’s nomination only about half the time. The only non-incumbent candidates to win their party’s Iowa caucus and go on to win the general election were George W. Bush in 2000 and Barack Obama in 2008. Even Bill Clinton didn’t win Iowa prior to his first terms.

Iowa also only has 28 Republican delegates, only about 1% of the total GOP delegates, that will participate in the 2012 national convention. Still the Iowa caucuses are watch very closely as an early indication of which candidates for president might win the nomination, and which ones should drop out for lack of support. This unfortunately has the tendency to undermine the opinions of much larger states, such as California (172), Texas (155), and New York (95). Iowa’s in 39th place in order of most to least, and New Hampture (12) is in 52nd, right next to all the small U.S. island territories. So why does the GOP allow such a small percentage of delegates predict the front runners?

At least our own Texas Governor Rick Perry, had the sense to announced he was returning home to re-assess his candidacy after a disappointing fifth-place finish; yet ultimately decided to stay in the race, despite the very little support I’ve seen from this area of his own state. Michele Bachmann decided to drop out after her very poor 6th place finish, but at the same time Jon Huntsman has been focusing more on New Hampture; certainly hoping his 7th place finish in Iowa will be of no consequence. Newt on the other hand has decided to come out of this first round swinging at Mitt; very reminiscent of Huckabee’s reasoning for refusing to concede in 2008.

Here are some upcoming key dates to look forward to (some are subject to change):

  • Jan. 7 Republican debate in Manchester, New Hampshire
  • Jan. 8 Republican debate in Concord, New Hampshire
  • Jan. 10 New Hampshire primary
  • Jan. 16 Republican debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Jan. 19 Republican debate in Charleston, South Carolina
  • Jan. 21 South Carolina primary
  • Jan. 23 Republican debate in Tampa, Florida
  • Jan. 26 Republican debate in Jacksonville, Florida
  • Jan. 31 Florida primary
  • Feb. 4 Nevada caucus, Maine caucus begins (through Feb. 11)
  • Feb. 7 Colorado and Minnesota caucuses, Missouri primary
  • Feb. 11 Maine presidential caucus ends
  • Feb. 22 Republican debate in Mesa, Arizona
  • Feb. 28 Arizona and Michigan primaries
  • March 1 Republican debate in Georgia
  • March 3 – Washington caucuses
  • March 6 “Super Tuesday” primaries and caucuses, including: Ohio, Massachusetts, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Idaho, Alaska, and North Dakota.
  • March 19 Republican debate in Portland, Oregon
  • April 3 District of Columbia, Maryland, Texas, and Wisconsin Primaries.
  • June 5 California, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota, and New Jersey Primaries.
  • Aug. 27-30 Republican convention in Tampa, Florida
  • Sept. 3-6 Democratic convention, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Oct. 3 Presidential debate in Denver, Colorado
  • Oct. 11 Vice presidential debate in Danville, Kentucky
  • Oct. 16 Presidential debate in Hempstead, New York
  • Oct. 22 Presidential debate in Boca Raton, Florida
  • Nov. 6 Election Day

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