Diary

A Romney win in Iowa may not spell the end for either Santorum or Perry

Tonight, Iowans become the first voting state in the nation for the 2012 presidential elections.  Most polls have conservative support separated with approximately 15% supporting Gingrich, 15% supporting  Santorum, 15% supporting Paul and 15% supporting Rick Perry.  This has left an open path for Romney to take the lead with about 20%.  Conventional wisdom tells us that a Romney win tonight will be the end of the race as he will convincingly take New Hampshire and then use the momentum to roll through South Carolina and Florida.  I’m not convinced.

This isn’t just anti-Romney spin either.  This isn’t about lowering expectations.  To be clear, Romney is the guy that will win the nomination right now.  But if we can make some changes and coalesce around someone else, he can be taken down.
The conventional wisdom may not apply this year.  If there are three things we have learned during this primary season it is that, #1 the race is constantly fluid, #2, voters are very fickle and ready to jump ship at the first sign of danger and #3, conservatives don’t want Mitt Romney.

HOPEFULLY, after losing in Iowa Michele Bachmann will drop out with her support going to either Perry or Santorum.  If the de facto winner of Iowa (either Perry or Santorum) can pick up Bachmann support, we may have a comeback of another candidate in time for South Carolina.

South Carolina could be a fresh start.  Traditionally, South Carolina decides whether the party will go with the Iowa winner or the New Hampshire winner.  If Romney wins both, the 75% opposition to him within the party may coalesce around another logical choice.

Add to that, Governor Nikki Haley’s endorsement of Mitt Romney in South Carolina could back fire on him.  She has become unpopular in the state and has not turned off base voters by endorsing Romney.  Even if Romney was to win Iowa, there is time for one more inter-party fight before we focus on Obama.

What is the points of all this?

Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are going to do extremely well.  But there are two other candidates to watch tonight — Santorum and Perry.  If Santorum wins, he may be able to make the case that although he has no money or infrastructure, he is the guy in South Carolina.  If Rick Perry could come in close to Santorum, third place or a strong fourth, this election may be crazy enough to give him life after Iowa.