Red Right Returning…Iowa Edition

(Red Right Returning, a nautical mnemonic for the side of the buoy or marker on which to pilot a ship in order to stay in the channel, is a look back at the activity of the past week of the Republican candidates in the 2012 primary. Feel free to voice your opinions on the candidates in the comment section.)

This is normally a Saturday feature  but now that the Republican nomination process is underway you may see some irregular posts on or before caucuses or primaries as we discuss and make predictions on the winners (and losers).

The Iowa caucus is tomorrow so let me run down my picks:

First place goes to Ron Paul. You’ve probably seen the article on why I think he will win. But to summarize, it’s the Ron Paul zombie flash mob effect. Paul’s supporters are rabid and have consistently helped him win several straw polls. Expect to see them out en masse. Plus you could see Iowa Democrats acting as spoilers and turn up as ‘Republicans for a day’ in order to vote for Paul. Much of the polling puts Paul in a dead heat with Romney.

Second place goes to Rick Santorum. I’m as surprised as anyone about this pick but Santorum has finally gotten his shot at a surge just in time for the caucus. Which means he’s been largely ignored by the other candidates while quietly running a hard ground game. Consequently, no one has had a chance to torpedo him with millions in attack ads as they did with Gingrich, Cain, and Perry (Newt gets the distinction of being the first victim in the post Citizens United world). Santorum has been to all 99 counties in Iowa and has pumped a lot of hands whereas Romney largely ignored Iowa until recently.

Which means that third place goes to Mitt Romney. As previously mentioned he skipped the ground game in Iowa, presumably because he spent $7 million in 2008 only to have Iowa pick Mike Huckabee. He must figure that Iowans just aren’t all that into him. And let’s be frank; there are a lot evangelicals in Iowa who think Mormonism is a cult. That’s going to be tough for Romney to overcome in several predominately southern states. He is likely banking on the hatred for Obama to outweigh those objections. Romney spent a good deal of effort in New Hampshire and likely expects this to be his jumping off point.

It’s probably pointless to rank any further except just to lump them all in the loser category. But we can speculate how long they’ll be around. If Michele Bachmann does as badly as I think she will, she’ll be out not long after Iowa since all the eggs she had in her basket for the state are cracked and she’s running out of money.

Jon Huntsman put all his eggs in the New Hampshire basket. How well he does there will dictate when he gets out. But Nevada is a caucus state next to Utah where Huntsman was a popular Governor. He might wait until after that caucus to decide. There’s also that Mormon thing again.

Rick Perry probably has enough money to stay in until Nevada. Perhaps he can stick around until some other southern states come into play and hope he gets the good ole boy vote.

Newt Gingrich may make a play for South Carolina. He is also running out of money and his negatives aren’t playing well in the polls.

That’s 538Refugees picks. What are yours?

(Update:  An hour after the doors have closed it’s

Ron Paul 24%
Mitt Romney23%
Rick Santorum 23 %

4% of the vote in)

About Mr. Universe

Mr. Universe is a musician/songwriter and an ex-patriot of the south. He currently lives and teaches at a University in the Pacific Northwest. He is a long distance hiker who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also an author and woodworker. An outspoken political voice, he takes a decidedly liberal stance in politics.
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4 Responses to Red Right Returning…Iowa Edition

  1. Polymeron says:

    That seems about right, though the top three really are in dead heat. My gut feeling though is that a lot of republicans have been itching to get rid of Romney for a while now, and he’s going to underperform from his polls, landing him in third place.

    Santorum probably needed another couple of days to reach the very height of his surge; he should still have just enough to beat Romeny, but I think Paul has a better chance of carrying this.

    All of this is really very much uncertain; we could well be in for a surprise or two. I would not give even odds that my own prediction above is correct – it’s just better than anything else I can come up with.

  2. Mr. Universe says:


    Nate is always better at the numbers and I tend to go on gut reactions. One observation that I heard someone say is that New Hampshire tends to pick the winners while Iowa tends to eliminate the losers. NH has correctly picked the Republican nominee 5 out of the last 6 contests while Iowa has only correctly picked one.

    This is a political junkies paradise.

  3. gabjoh says:

    Keep in mind that the Republican caucuses in Iowa have no threshold of viability similar to the Democratic ones; also, the ballot is a secret one. (To everyone, not necessarily the blog author.)

  4. Polymeron says:

    Having read the earlier post (“why Ron Paul will win Iowa”), I find it interesting to note that this system was basically IRV. This would usually tend to favor moderate/compromise/broader acceptability candidates… In this case, that would probably be Romney. However, it appears that the Iowa caucus is NOT done by IRV; this favors Paul again.

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