Jan. 03 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama ?   Republican ?  
Senate Dem ?   GOP ?  

Senate map and races
Downloadable polling data
Previous report
Next report

strong Dem Strong Dem (253)
weak Dem Weak Dem (32)
barely Dem Barely Dem (73)
tied Exactly tied (0)
barely GOP Barely GOP (13)
weak GOP Weak GOP (42)
strong GOP Strong GOP (125)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
Map algorithm explained
Senate polls today: (None) iPhone RSS
Dem pickups: (None) GOP pickups: (None) PDA

PW logo Photo Finish in Iowa Perry May Not Continue
McCain to Endorse Romney Iowa Caucus Results
Extra Bonus Quote of the Day Newt Gingrich as Jerry Brown?

News from the Votemaster

All Eyes on Iowa Today     Permalink

Hundreds of meetings, thousands of miles, millions of dollars and we have come to today: the famous Iowa caucuses, which actually mean nothing and everything at the same time. The most recent polls say it is basically a tie between Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum, with everyone else bunched at the bottom. But 40% of the potential caucus-goers said they could still change their minds. This is where the difference between a caucus and a primary really shows up. In a primary, you stand in line, vote, and go home. In a caucus, people get up in front of the room and pitch their candidates. There is discussion. A particularly persuasive speaker could swing some undecided voters. Then after all the talk is done, each voter gets a blank sheet of paper and is asked to write the name of his or her preference on it. Note that this is only a preference for delegates to the 99 county conventions in March. The people who go there elect the delegates to the congressional-district conventions and so on up the tree to the RNC. These people can change their mind as time goes on. In 2008, for example, John McCain came in fourth in the first round but ended up getting all the delegates to the RNC in the end.

The big story now is about Rick Santorum and how far his surge will take him. He might well win today. That would give him momentum going into South Carolina (he can forget about New Hampshire as his brand of conservativism does not fly there). But the real story is about how well Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich do. If either of them greatly outperforms the other one, the loser might drop out (possibly after New Hampshire) and the remaining one could make a last stand in South Carolina. Remember, even if Santorum wins today, he has no money and no organization going forward. A decent showing by either Perry or Gingrich could wipe him out in South Carolina, or more likely in Florida, which is an expensive state to campaign in.

How did Santorum get to be where he is now? Probably three main reasons. First, he was the last man standing. Trump, Bachmann, Cain, Perry, and Gingrich all took off like ill-fated rockets and came crashing back to earth shortly after launch. Santorum is the only guy left conservatives can rally behind. Second, because he has been down in the weeds all year, nobody has been paying attention to him. It turns out this is a good thing, not a bad thing. When Gingrich took off, SuperPACs allied with Romney poured millions of dollars into a very negative campaign against him. He didn't have the money to fight back. Because Santorum is peaking so late, there was no time for anyone to run negative ads against him. Had he peaked earlier, he would have been a target. Third, he campaigned the way Iowans like it. He visited all 99 counties and held over 300 town hall meetings all over the state. The voters really got to know him well. They like that. None of the other candidates did as much retail politicking, although Bachmann did a fair amount, too, but she's just too looney for Iowa, despite her having been born there.

So to summarize, it's not about who comes in first today. It's about who drops out. Romney is unlikely to get more than 20-25% of the vote but the other 75-80% is badly fragmented over half a dozen candidates. If several of them get wiped out today and drop out (possibly after New Hampshire next week), then the 75-80% of voters who do not like Romney might all move to one or two remaining candidates who could then to give Romney a run for his considerable money.

The Horse Race as a Horse Race     Permalink

If you want to see the Republican horse race as an actual horse race, take a look at what Slate has put together: the race with actual (albeit cartoon) horses. A fun way to spend a minute.

If you like this Website, tell your friends. You can also share by clicking this button  

-- The Votemaster

Previous headlines

Jan01 Happy New Presidential Election Year
Jan01 Iowa Caucuses Are This Tuesday
Jan01 Final Selzer Poll: Romney and Paul on top but Santorum Rising
Dec16 No Fireworks in Final GOP Debate
Dec11 Romney Offers Perry a $10,000 Bet During Debate
Dec11 Where is Sarah Palin?
Dec11 The 2012 Contest: Whole Foods Clients vs. Cracker Barrel Shoppers
Dec07 Gingrich Way Ahead in Iowa
Dec07 Obama Gives Fiery Speech Attacking the Republicans
Dec07 Pelosi Backtracks on Releasing Dirt
Dec04 Herman Cain Drops Out
Dec04 Gingrich Pulls Away in Iowa
Nov29 Woman Accuses Cain of Long-Running Affair
Nov23 Romney's Extended Family Could be a Problem
Nov23 Republicans Ignore China, Eurocrisis in Debate on Foreign Affairs
Nov19 Newton Defies Gravity
Nov10 Perry Stumbles Badly in Debate
Nov09 Anti-Union Bill Repealed in Ohio
Nov09 Republicans May Take over Virginia State Senate
Nov09 An Egg is Not a Person in Mississippi
Nov06 Romney's Choice
Oct22 Cain First, Romney Real Winner in NV Straw Poll
Oct12 Mitt the Inevitable?
Oct06 Steve Jobs and Politics
Oct06 Palin Will Not Run for President
Sep30 Senate Races 2012

WWW www.electoral-vote.com