YWN 2012 ELECTION COVERAGE: Previewing The Iowa Caucuses – Exclusive Analysis & Predictions

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By: Yechezkel Gordon

WHAT: The Iowa Caucuses

WHEN: January 3, 2012

ANALYSIS: After months of debating and campaigning, the first in the nation caucuses will officially usher in the 2012 election. The Republican field is narrowed down to seven candidates, and by the time the GOP convention is held in the summer, one of them will stand alone as the Republican candidate for president who will take on President Obama in the general election, for the honors of occupying the White House the next four years.

2008 RESULTS:

REPUBLICANS-
Mike Huckabee (34%), Mitt Romney (25%),
Fred Thompson (13%), John McCain (13%),
Ron Paul (10%),
Rudy Giuliani (4%), Duncan Hunter (1%)

DEMOCRATS-
Barack Obama (38%), John Edwards (30%), Hillary Clinton (29%),
Bill Richardson (2%),
Joe Biden (1%)

ANALYSIS: The importance of the first in the nation caucuses has been debated over the years. 2008 proved to be a mixed bag. Huckabee won on the Republican side and that was the last we heard of him until he got a job on Fox News. McCain finished in fourth place and went on to become the eventual nominee. On the Democrat side it was a whole different story. Obama’s shocking first place finish, catapulted him to the front of the pack and he’s never had to look back since. Previous years have proven more prophetic though. John Kerry won in 2004, Al Gore and George W. Bush won in 2000, and they all went on to become the nominee for their respected parties.

THE CANDIDATES: Here’s a rundown of the Republican candidates that will be on the ballot for the Iowa caucuses, and what it will take for them to win.

Mitt Romney: The good news is, he was the front runner in the beginning of the race and he’s still the front runner now. The bad news is, it’s more a result of his competitors weaknesses then his strengths. He’s proven to be a very good debater, and the weak economy plays to his strength as a former CEO and the executive who turned the Utah Olympics into a great economic success. New Hampshire has long been considered his home turf, and if he wins Iowa or comes in second to Paul, he’s all but sure to win in NH, and carry that momentum into a South Carolina victory where he already has the endorsement of its popular Governor. In short, his competitors have only one realistic shot of beating him, and that’s in the socially conservative Iowa, if they fail to do that, the race is all but over.

Newt Gingrich: His poll numbers soared earlier this month following a string of strong debate performances and the collapse of Herman Cain’s campaign. But the spotlight brings with it scrutiny, and for Gingrich that meant getting pounded for the past few weeks by everyone else on the campaign trail and with blunt TV ads painting him as a lifetime politician turned lobbyist, who will do and say anything to advance his career. He needs to do better then Romney to give himself a chance to win NH. If he doesn’t finish in the top three, it will spell the end to his campaign.

Ron Paul: Throughout the campaign, Paul has maintained a strong showing in Iowa. He’s know to have the most loyal supporters, and his anti- government stance has helped him expand his support from four years ago. He has the extensive groundwork and organization needed to win in Iowa, and the latest polls indicate that he has a very good chance of doing just that. Recently, his various controversial positions have come out, including racist and anti-Semitic statements in newsletters under his name that were published in the 1990’s. He may win in Iowa, but if he does, it will be due to the support of Democrats and Independents, but very few Republicans.

Rick Santorum: As a social and economic conservative, Santorum decided to go all out in Iowa. While his competitors were crisscrossing the country campaigning and fundraising, he went house to house all across Iowa until he managed to visit all 99 counties. His strategy has shown signs of success recently when he received endorsements from two prominent evangelical leaders and from the Iowa Secretary of State. For Santorum, there’s a lot at stake in this election. Unlike his conservative competitors Perry and Bachmann who have their current jobs as Governor and Congressman to fall back on should they loose, Santorum would be forced to find a private sector job to help pay off his debt from the campaign. Santorum has a consistent conservative track record throughout his political career in the House and Senate to help him appeal to the conservative Iowans. He’ll either shock everyone with a surprising top three finish, or he’ll be forced to drop out of the race with a poor showing. A big time endorsement from Iowa Congressman Steve King or another prominent Republican can make all the difference.

Michele Bachmann: A solid conservative that can boast about her victory in the Iowa Straw Poll this summer, but that’s about all. Her numbers have tanked ever since Perry joined the race, and she’ll need to do well in Iowa to stay in the race. She’s fighting for the same conservative evangelicals as Perry and Santorum, and if the three of them split the evangelical vote it will give Romney a good chance of winning.

Rick Perry: His poor debate performances and frequent slip- ups have overshadowed his strong conservative record as Governor of Texas. Finishing below Santorum or Bachmann in the caucuses will put him on a one way ticket back to Texas.

Jon Huntsman: Early in the campaign, he said he would not compete in the more conservative Iowa, and instead would make his start in New Hampshire, which comes second on the nominating calendar. Thus, no matter how poorly he does he’ll still be around for the NH primary.

PREDICTION: Unless Santorum pulls off an unbelievable come from behind victory, or Paul manages to convince enough Democrats and Independents to caucus for him, Romney will be the one delivering the victory speech in about a week from now.

(Yechezkel Gordon – YWN)

3 COMMENTS

  1. For me it’s:

    #1: Rick Santorum (by a runaway margin)
    #2 or 3: Newt Gingrich
    #2 or 3: Rick Perry
    #4: Mitt Romney
    #5: Michele Bachmann
    #6: Jon Huntsman