But for now, the Iowa caucuses took place last Tuesday. And the results have been interesting. From the Des Moines Register:
Rivals Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum waged a down-to-the-wire battle for the Iowa Republican caucuses Tuesday, but shortly after 1:30 a.m. today, Romney was declared the victor by eight votes.
Romney won 30,015 votes, compared with 30,007 for Santorum, out of 122,255 cast.
Each of the men won 25 percent of the vote and proclaimed victory.
Ron Paul was third, followed by Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman.
Last night’s decision was hardly a knockout, though – Romney got almost the same number of votes as four years ago.
This was by far the closest contest in the modern history of the Iowa Republican caucuses (since 1976). In the previous closest race, George H. W. Bush edged Ronald Reagan in 1980 by 2.1 percentage points, or 2,182 votes of the 106,051 cast.
So Romney and Santorum came into a statistical tie, with Romney only eight votes ahead. It is not much of a victory, as both candidates pick up 11 delegates each. But what I find especially interesting is that Romney got almost the same number of votes as he did in 2008. What's more, the number of people who voted against Romney, by choosing Santorum, Gingrich, Bauchmann, Paul and such are certainly greater than the number of people who voted for Romney. There are a lot of Republican voters who are just not thrilled with Mitt Romney--they were more interested in their own favorite, extremist candidate than the corporate candidate.
Next Tuesday is the New Hampshire primary. The NBC / Marist poll is showing Romney having a 20-point lead over Santorum. I'm pretty sure Romney will win big in New Hampshire. I would be more curious as to how the South Carolina primary will shape up, considering the Religious Right and hard-core conservative voters there. Will they choose Romney, or go with the Anybody-But-Romney?