|bloodstar, Election, Political on December 31st, 2011 at 01:35 by bloodstar|
Much to my surprise, the Republicans handle their Caucuses differently than the Democrats. Specifically, Republican caucuses are one and done, you go in, talk for a bit and then vote. The Democrats have a 15% viability threshold, where if the candidate you voted for has less than 15% that candidate is eliminated and a re-vote is held.
So, with that in mind, the second choice preferences for Republicans aren’t as relevant in Iowa as it would be for the Democrats. The weather looks cool, but not extremely cold, as well as no rain/snow forecast. That usually implies a higher turnout. Now will that favor younger voters? or make it easier for older voters to make it out?
My early thoughts are that Paul will win with about 30% of the vote. I’m still not buying Romney will break his ceiling and think he’ll end up around 20%. Finally I’ll be very surprised if Huntsman breaks 2%.
That leaves Gingrich, Santorum, Perry, and Bachmann chasing the last 50% of the vote. Ironically, If two of the candidates had dropped out, The other two would have a real shot at winning Iowa. But with 4 candidates chasing that 50%, No one can gain enough traction to separate themselves from the pack. These four candidates are the hardest to predict.
I think the Santorum surge is over-stated. I expect him to end up around 10%. I also think that Gingrich will hold the line a little better than people expect and I think he’ll end up around 15%. Bachmann is a tough wildcard, but I can’t see her getting more than 10%, particularly after the high profile defections to Ron Paul. So that leaves Rick Perry(!) holding around 15%.
Now, there are a few variables that could come into play. First, the Bachmann defections could push Ron Paul up higher. Second, we don’t know how well the Ron Paul support will show up. I suspect it will show up very, very well, but you never know.
I’ll give a few more thoughts on the eve of the Caucuses.