2012 Iowa Caucuses Result in a Draw
Mitt Romney Defeats Rick Santorum by only 8 votes.
Written by Agathe Panaretos. For what many saw as a chance for the Republican Party to narrow its field of possible presidential candidates, Tuesday’s caucuses in Iowa resulted in a near-tie between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.
The final results of the caucuses held last Tuesday have the former governor winning by the slimmest of margins, with a total of 30,015 votes over Santorum’s total of 30,007.
Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who many anticipated would be a dark horse in the upcoming primaries, finished in third with 26,219 votes.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry finished in fifth and sixth place, respectively. Native Iowan and Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann finished last, pulling in 6,073 votes. Failing to win a single county in the state, Bachmann later withdrew her candidacy following the results on Wednesday morning.
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman skipped the caucus in order to spend time campaigning in New Hampshire, whose primary is to be held on January 10.
Santorum, who up until the last week had remained near the bottom of the polls, was the latest candidate to experience a surge of support in an ongoing rollercoaster of viable contenders. While promising, his close finish in Iowa further demonstrates Republican voters’ dissatisfaction with the current crop of contenders.
A common theme among exit polls conducted throughout the state reveal voters have little faith in Santorum’s chances of beating President Obama in the November election. Thirty-one percent of voters named the ability to defeat the current President as the most important quality in choosing which candidate to support; of that percentage, only thirteen percent picked Santorum.
The Iowa Caucus is the first real litmus test in measuring a candidate’s potential of becoming the Republican nominee for President. While a poor showing in the state can quickly lead a campaign to its knees, a positive performance does not always translate to a successful bid on the national level. Of the past five Republican Caucuses held with multiple candidates, only two (Bob Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000) have gone on to win the Republican nomination.
With only a few days left before the New Hampshire primary, the remaining candidates will likely focus their campaigns on one target: Mitt Romney. The former governor has maintained a steady following throughout the campaign and overwhelming financial support, spending over $17 million since January 2011. With a win in New Hampshire, Republican voters may finally accept Mitt Romney as the clear winner.