What a thriller the Iowa caucuses last night turned out to be! And my prayers were almost heard! Almost! :-) Mitt Romney won Iowa by 8 more votes than Rick Santorum (30,015 vs. 30.007)! Romney won 24,6% of the votes, Santorum got 24,5%, Ron Paul 21,4%, Newt Gingrich 13,3%, Rick Perry 10,3%, the Norwegian-American Michele Bachmann 5%, Jon Huntsman 0,6% (but he didn't spend much time in Iowa if any at all), 0,1% had no preference (135 people), 0,1% voted for other candidates (who?), while Herman Cain, who suspended his campaign last month, got 58 votes. All according to Des Moines Register.
Iowa's Republican party only provides 28 delegates to the party convention in August. The caucus is said to give one or more candidates a boost before the later primaries, but is not necessarily that important after all. John McCain became no. 4 in 2008, but made a great comeback in New Hampshire and never really looked back. Not that I think Gingrich will follow in McCain's footsteps. According to the polls (source Real Clear Politics) he is still in the lead in South Carolina and Florida, but Gingrich's popularity has dropped since the polls took place and even if he might still do relatively well in those states, it will not be enough to stop Romney's parade towards August victory.
Even if Romney just about won Iowa, one could say that Santorum became "the true winner" if one considers how far behind he was in the polls only a couple of weeks ago. His "barnstorming" (how I love this expression!) of Iowa paid off. He will enjoy the sun for a while, and it will be interesting to see how much he can climb in popularity in South Carolina and Florida, but most commentaries today don't believe in his future beyond that.
I still haven't found any website which shows the GOP delegate count after the Iowa caucus. That could be because the delegates are not formally elected yet. The path goes from the precinct caucuses via the county and district conventions to the Iowa state convention, which actually chooses the delegates. In theory they are unbound from the results of the precinct caucuses. So different election system from I am used to here in Norway, but very fascinating! If the delegates were bound to follow the results, Romney and Santorum would have won 7 each, Paul 6, Gingrich 4, Perry 3 and Bachmann 1. If I have got the math right, that is!
Michele Bachmann, who was born in Iowa and represent the neighbour state Minnesota in the US House of Representatives, decided to suspend her campaign today, just as I predicted yesterday. There were rumours earlier today that Perry was about to give up as well, but he has decided to go on. It will probably not last for long, though.
The New Hampshire primary takes place on 10 January 2012. As I have already commented on, Romney is sure to win, and the question is only how big the percentage will be. 45% perhaps? And can Jon Huntsman create a few headlines? Time will show. I will not be able to blog about every primary or caucus this spring - and of course there are other bloggers who will write far better comments and analysis than I can - but you can be sure that I will continue to follow the campaign with great interest!
The only thing I wonder about is how to get photos (free of use) of the various candidates? I have checked their websites, but not found pages which includes photos "in the public domain". Anyone who can help me out? E-mails and tweets to Romney's campaign office has not helped so far... The blog could need some illustrations in connection with my US elections comments.
Updated on Thursday 5 January 2012 at 15.45 (subject title).