Iowa GOP Caucus Post Mortem: Momentum, Disappointment, and Surprises

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    Iowa GOP Caucus Post Mortem: Momentum, Disappointment, and Surprises

    Following last nights Iowa caucus the GOP field remains largely unchanged, though the chairs on the deck have been reshuffled once again, minus one.

    Michelle Bachmann has ended her campaign following a dismal finish that saw her pick up only 5% of the caucus results for a stunning last place finish.  Bachmann whose campaign had its highwater mark last August following a win in the Ames Strawpoll followed that victory with a slow but steady decline in the polls as Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich all surged to close out the final quarter of 2011 before all eventually fading.  Bachmann whose campaign has been in disarray was never able to recaputure her stride and win back the voters who looked elsewhere to what seemed like more promising candidates at the time.

    Rick Perry had announced he would reassess his campaign following a disappointing finish in Iowa with just 10% of the vote.  However news out of Perryland today seems to indicate he is staying in the race and pushing on to NH, at least for the debates this week, though it is unclear how much time and money he will commit to a ground game there, where Romney is in performing well and expected to win.  However, if Perry is setting his focus on SC, a disappointing finish in NH may not affect his decision to move forward given that the NH outcome is, at this point, academic. 

    Newt Gingrich, who flirted with frontrunner status just a couple weeks ago, has seen his campaign wither under the barrage of attack ads funded by Romney associated PAC's in Iowa.  His campaign has been criticized for being slow to respond and then responding ineffectively when they did pivot to offense.  I beleive Newt had a touch of the flu recently and perhaps sickness kept him from being more aggressive.  Though Newt has the endorsement of the Union Leader in NH, he badly trails Romney who enjoys a commanding lead in recent NH Polls with 43% as compared to 9% for Gingrich.  Finishing near the bottom in NH would likely mean the end of the line for the former Speaker of the house.  And given his close proximity to Huntsman in the polls (7% and who has campaigned exclusive in NH) and Santorum (6% who is not well liked in NH) his path forward looks to be more of a deadstop if can't separate himself from two candidates who lack the national presense he has and are generally regarded as dark horse candidates. 

    Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, both regarded as fringe candidates for the nomination not too long ago have both surged in recent weeks.  Paul's finish with 21.5% of the vote in Iowa and Santorums 24.54% are both equally impressive and the results of two different tactics.  Santorum did it the old fashion way and hit the road and shook hands and kissed babies.  His outreach in Iowa paid off handsomely.  Paul, meanwhile continues to ride the wave of an enthusiastic group of supporters that turned out in droves to give Paul a surprising upstart finish.  As both move forward to NH their paths appear to be headed for a drastic split.  Paul is currently polling at 14% while Santorum is getting only 6%, one point behind John Huntsman.  Currently with 16 percent of NH GOP voters undecided there is room for both to make up ground in the next week, though Paul has a much more favorable road ahead where his message resonates more with the NH voters than does Santorum's. Paul seems set for a 2nd place finish which would set him up nicely for a run in SC.  The lights seem a little dimmer for Santorum who won't have the time to run a door to door campaign in either NH or SC. 

    Romney who managed to fight back from a 4th place finish in Iowa in 2008 to claim the top spot this year has a surprising lack of momentum.  Though he won he did so with his usurpers cannabiliing each other's voters and his final tally is right on par with where he has performed for much of the young primary season, never improving nor falling off.  With his win in NH all but assured he should continue to enjoy good fundraising numbers and early endorsements.  But it is clear the real test will be SC in a few weeks.  Will a two primary winning streak heading into SC be enough to propel him to a commanding lead in the nomination process when nearly 75% of GOP voters are backing someone else? 

    What does it mean?

    Well, for the next 2 to 3 weeks not a whole lot.  The field is bascially the same and Bachmann's departure doesn't leave a lot voters for anyone to pick up given her performance in Iowa and recent poll results from the upcoming primary states.  Romney who is the darling of the GOP establishment and business wing still has a lot of room to make up in courting conservative wing of the party which seems content to continue throwing its weight and votes behind a rotating lineup of second tier candidates.  Ron Paul on the other hand is perhaps beginning to distingush and distance himself from the other Non Romney's and is perhaps best positioned to siphon off the votes from candidates like Perry and Santorum should their campaigns come to an early end.  By Feb 1st the field should be dramitically altered and I predict we will see at least 2 candidates pull of the race. 


     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from MattyScornD. Show MattyScornD's posts

    Re: Iowa GOP Caucus Post Mortem: Momentum, Disappointment, and Surprises

    Iowa: The Popcorn is Gone; Only Kernels Remain.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from sk8ter2008. Show sk8ter2008's posts

    Re: Iowa GOP Caucus Post Mortem: Momentum, Disappointment, and Surprises

    it's a marathon and the first leg means little towards the final outcome.

    Who was leading at this stage of the dem primaries in 2008?
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from StalkingButler. Show StalkingButler's posts

    Re: Iowa GOP Caucus Post Mortem: Momentum, Disappointment, and Surprises

    "If put a gun to my head and said Santorum or Romney, I would say pull the trigger" - Redstate commenter

    And the bullet, of course, is Obama.
     

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