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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Romney & Gingrich In Virtual Tie In Iowa - Gallup Poll

Romney & Gingrich In Virtual Tie In Iowa - Gallup Poll

Conservatives Have Little To Like In Iowa Contest

By Dell Hill

Only a fool would try to accurately predict the outcome of the Iowa caucus vote today.  There are just too many underhanded political factors involved, such as Democrats voting for Ron Paul, to gauge the climate with any degree of accuracy.  We also have the problem of “just too many candidates” at this stage of the process.  I strongly believe that once the schedule shows South Carolina as the next stop, the field will be narrowed by at least three...maybe four, and then the serious battle for the nomination will begin.

This isn’t a prediction.  I honestly can’t get a handle on the political climate that would allow me to comfortably predict anything.  It’s a suggestion as to what “probably will happen”.

Mitt Romney is the Republican elites choice and has been since day one.  He’ll finish in one of the top three spots, and then move on the New Hampshire where his political muscle will become more than obvious.  In Iowa, Romney is just going through the motions, trying very hard not to make any mistakes and allowing everyone else the chance to beat up on each other.  He’s actually done a good job of that, thus far.

Ron Paul has an army of youthful volunteers - not to mention the Democrats who intend to cross over and vote for him in the Republican caucus - and they’ve made a big splash in Iowa that should be enough to garner a top three spot.  After Iowa, though, the future is nowhere near as bright for the Texas Congressmen.

The battle for the third spot in Iowa comes down to Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum, with only Santorum showing any surge in popularity over the final week of the campaign.  

Gingrich enjoyed a surge immediately after Herman Cain was forced out of the race, but it was short-lived and many of those former Cain supporters may well have opted to back Santorum.  

Rick Perry, who was seen as a viable alternative to Romney and Gingrich at the start of his campaign, has fallen on serious hard times.  His performances in televised debate mode went from excellent to horrible - often on the same night.  

I really believe there’s more to the story behind Perry’s downfall than we’re being told by his campaign staff or Perry, himself.  We’ve had hints (from his wife) that recent back surgery left him in pain and he’s reportedly taking enough pain medication(s) that he’s just “not himself”.

After living in Texas for five years with Perry as Governor, I’d have to think the pain medication report is accurate.  He certainly hasn’t sounded like the Rick Perry I remember in Texas.  Not even close.

Jon Huntsman and Michele Bachmann trail the field by a substantial margin, and in the daily Gallup tracking poll, Perry could be lumped in with that duo as well.

As of this writing, Gallup has Romney edging Gingrich 24% - 23% in what would have to be called a toss up.  Paul is a distant third with 13%, Perry fourth with 7%, Santorum finishing strong at 6%, Bachmann at 5% and Huntsman with just 2%.  The “other” category beats Huntsman with 3%.

It would not surprise me to see Santorum trade places with Perry and finish fourth - or perhaps even higher, and the support for Ron Paul could vault him past Gingrich.

No matter what the outcome, these numbers simply do not bode well for Conservatives.  With just two exceptions, there isn’t a true Conservative in the top tier.  Those two exceptions are Bachmann and Perry, and neither is in an enviable position.

Is it time for the elderly blogger to issue an endorsement?

Not a chance.  I could easily argue “for” and “against” every single candidate listed.  This entire process smells sooooo very much like 2008 it’s almost sickening.  From what I’ve seen and heard thus far, it will be “hold your nose and vote” time once again in November. 

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