We’re back and just in time to bring in the New Year with our Iowa Caucus predictions, though sadly not in time for the most recent Des Moines Register Poll that would have made our lives a lot easier. C’est la vie, I guess. Our caucus predictions are below:
Ross Freiman-Mendel: Predicting the winner of Iowa caucuses is a fun exercise, but caucus goers will not deliver the eventual Republican nominee. Ron Paul will win in Iowa on January 3rd, with Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney finishing in second and third, respectively. It’s also noteworthy how these predictions show how irrelevant the Ames Straw Poll was in its predicative powers.
Ron Paul’s latest controversy spurred by his old newsletters underscores the fact that the conservative establishment considers him a real threat. The Texas Congressman will maintain his lead for three reasons: his idealistic, consistent message; the lucky, albeit fickle timing of the scandal during the dead news cycles of Christmas and New Years Eve; and because he’s defter than Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich in his ability to maneuver his own political baggage. Defections from the Bachmann campaign are also telling, in addition to Paul benefiting from unique state rules dictating who can vote in the caucus.
Rick Santorum will surprise all, narrowly inching out Mr. Romney. His persistent yet shortsighted approach to Iowa has and will continue to pay dividends, as he begins to surge at just the right time. In the words of Paul Gigot of The Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Santorum is all moral values all the time.” Unfortunately for Mr. Santorum, Iowans hardly reflect the composition of the Republican electorate, and his deeply Christian campaign has little national appeal.
While Mitt Romney will place a close third, the loss will benefit him immensely. It’s well known that a loss in Iowa can do just as much for a candidate as a win, just look at George H.W. Bush’s third place finish in 1988. The pressure from other candidates has finally enlivened Mr. Romney, who up until now has been boring and uninspiring. Just recently he compared President Obama to Marie Antoinette and Newt Gingrich to Lucille Ball. This heated rhetoric is good omen that the candidate is finally willing to sling some punches. Continue reading