Romney the Losing Winner

Mitt Romney won the Iowa Caucus by 8 votes to a surging Rick Santorum.  While there was a larger turnout in 2012, Romney got fewer votes in Iowa than he did in 2008 as a second place finisher.  Looking at 2011 polling data compiled by Real Clear Politics, Romney polled over 25% only 3 times; the last time was 10/12-10/19 in a University of Iowa poll where he ranked second – 27% to the then front runner Herman Cain’s 37%.

Mitt Romney is in trouble.  He may win New Hampshire, but unless he wins convincingly, and I don’t think he will, it won’t be seen as a victory.  New Hampshire voters know Romney’s record as the former Governor of neighboring Massachusetts.  They know he is suspect as a real conservative candidate. They remember Romney Care.  They’ve heard negative ads against him.  They know of his changing positions and do not regard him as  principled. In 2008, he finished 2nd to John McCain in New Hampshire.  In 2012, the conservative Rick Santorum may be a stronger candidate than John McCain and more electable than Mitt Romney. I predict Santorum will finish a close second to Romney in New Hampshire.

If the Tea Party approved Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann bow out of the race, their supporters are most likely to side with Santorum or Gingrich.  Ron Paul is a wild card in the race.  He probably has no chance of winning a primary but will likely stay in the race until the end.  In 2008, he stayed in the race until June.  My guess is that his supporters will not enthusiastically back any other candidate and that some will vote for the Libertarian Gary Johnson in the general election.