Well now the campaign can officially start. It seems as if the GOP campaign has been dragging on forever; well this Tuesday it will begin to kick into high gear with the Iowa caucus. With only 24 hours to go the last minute politicking is in full swing. The latest RealClearPolitics average has Romney at 22.8%, Paul at 21.5%, and Santorum at 16.3%. As of now these represent the three most serious competitors in the Iowa caucus. Gingrich, who surged to the front of the pack, has seen his support wane in recents weeks. He now holds on to fourth place at around 13.7% and is continuing to drop lower and lower. Let’s look at what the possible out comes are for the three competitors.
Romney: A first place win for the former governor would be tremendous or his chances of winning the nomination. If Romney wins he will go into New Hampshire with a lot of momentum. The first primary state has been the governors main focus so far, and a win in both states could lock up the nomination process. A recent email from a top advisor sums up the campaigns feelings on tomorrows caucus, “If we win, it’s fantastic. If Santorum wins and we are second, it’s good. If Paul wins and we are second, it’s great. Any of the likely outcomes is positive for us.” The only way Romney can lose is by coming in third place, which seems unlikely at this point.
Paul: Texas congressman Ron Paul has been viewed as the kingmaker in Iowa by many in the media; this view has not been taken up by Porkins Policy Review. If Paul were to win in Iowa it would certainly thrust him to center stage, but where would the campaign go from there? Paul’s chances of doing well in New Hampshire are much slimmer than in the Hawk Eye state. Instead, his focus would turn to the more evangelical South Carolina primary. Let’s face it though Paul will not be win the nomination let alone the presidency. A win or even second place will keep Paul in the race for the foreseeable future. But his numbers most likely will not exceed 10% of the electorate.
Santorum: What do we make of former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum’s huge bump in the polls? The short answer is nothing. This is just the inevitable cycle that has been a mainstay of this election season; Santorum is another not Romney. Every other candidate aside from Huntsman has seen a huge bump followed by a massive plummet back to reality, this is just Santorum’s time. Even if Santorum were to pull of a huge upset and win the caucus he has no infrastructure to speak of. He would suffer the same problems that Gingrich did following his ascent in the polls, lack of staff and more importantly lack of money. The senators time in Iowa has been spent living out of an SUV accompanied by just one advisor. Anyone who thinks Santorum will pull of an upset has been drinking the Kool Aid.
Bottom Line: A win for Paul or Santorum will make the Iowa caucus about as useless an indicator for the presidency as previous years. Either of them wining can be written off as merely evangelicals voicing their support. If Romney wins than thats a sign that the electorate has come to its senses and is ready to accept that he is the most electable candidate. Santorum or Paul wining is almost predictable given the electorate in Iowa. Mitt Romney winning would prove to the GOP that he is in fact the front runner and the best candidate to take on President Obama.