Thursday, January 5, 2012

What the Iowa Caucuses Determined

Perhaps the biggest revelation of the caucuses is that Ron Paul only came in third place. This is evidence the Democrats are not as actively organized as they were in 2008, since they had a plan in place to vote in the caucuses to ensure that Paul won the GOP nomination.
Political analysts are scratching their heads trying to figure out how Mitt Romney won first place in the Iowa caucuses since the state is highly evangelical, he did not campaign heavily there, and his share of support in the polls has remained steadily at just under 25 percent. They are also trying to figure out why Rick Santorum surged from a lower-tier candidate to almost tying Romney. Looking at the personalities and the events leading up to the caucuses, the results are not as surprising as they superficially appear at first glance.
The polls in Iowa correctly showed Santorum surging the last few days prior to the election, surpassing Ron Paul and almost catching up to Romney. The left-leaning media has tried to create a perception that evangelicals have a problem with voting for a Mormon candidate, but most evangelicals knew better. Disagreeing with someone’s religion is not the same as voting them into a secular political office - especially if the candidate is not running on a theocratic platform. There was little evidence of Mormon bias in the election results; the evangelical vote split several ways with 32% for Santorum, 18% for Ron Paul, and 13% each for Romney, Gingrich and Perry.
The heavily Democratic media should look at itself for Mormon bias. A Gallup poll last year found that Democrats were more likely to have a problem voting for a Mormon as president than Republicans. 27% of Democrats said they would not vote for a Mormon president, compared to only 18% of Republicans who would not.  
The Republican presidential candidates were on a fairly even playing field this year, since most candidates had at least a couple of prominent negatives. This made it more difficult for Republican primary voters to decide upon a candidate. Romney was not as conservative in his earlier years as Massachusetts governor, and his MassCare healthcare system frequently is confused with ObamaCare. There are a few issues Gingrich doesn’t seem so conservative on, such as working for Freddie Mac and launching a television ad with Nancy Pelosi about global warming. Rick Perry made a few too many gaffes during the presidential debates and continued to defend his soft position on illegal immigration. Rick Santorum has not quite mastered the presidential persona yet, which combined with voting for Medicare Part D, supporting Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey for Senate and an inability to raise adequate funding has hurt him. Michelle Bachmann has a great record on the issues, but also lacks an ability to fundraise and was unable to sustain a national ground team. Ron Paul takes a liberal non-interventionist position on foreign policy which is a huge strike against him in this era of terrorism. Jon Huntsman is virtually unknown, considered too moderate, and didn’t bother to campaign in Iowa.

Read the rest of my article at Townhall

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