After two years of campaign, hundreds of pundit prognostications, and thousands of cable news sound bites, at long last, what you’ve been waiting for…
Our fearless contributors — Contributing RPs, Friends of RP and RP Staff — offer their predictions for tonight’s Iowa caucuses.
And you can too — please give us your predictions in the Comments section below.
Without further ado…(Click on their name to find out their background)…
The RP: Paul 30%; Romney 25%; Santorum 21%; Gingrich 7%; Perry 6%; Bachmann 4%, Huntsman 1%. I don’t think Rick “Man On Dog” Santorum’s organization is strong enough to take advantage of his surge. I also think Paul’s support is underestimated in the polls because his grassroots support is so fervant, and the tin foil hat crowd among his followers are fearful of pollsters. Remember Pat Robertson?
Jeff Smith: Santorum 27; Romney 23; Paul 23; Perry 11; Gingrich 9; Bachmann 6. I think some Bachmann/Gingrich/Perry folks walk in to their caucus, see how outnumbered they are by Sant-mentum, and get on the bandwagon.
Jason Grill: Romney, Paul, and Santorum will finish first, second, and third. The order though is more “up in the air” than George Clooney was in his recent Oscar nominated movie. Organization and friends twisting other friends arms at the caucuses will decide the order of the top three. If Romney finishes third that WILL be news and change the race somewhat moving forward. He will be seen as an even weaker front runner if this happens. Also, it will be interesting to see where Perry and Gingrich finish tonight. Keep a lookout for their percentages at the end of the night. A fourth place finish for Perry over Gingrich will signal a potential showdown with Romney in South Carolina. Lastly, I am anxious to see how Huntsman finishes in next week’s New Hampshire primary after skipping Iowa.
Mark Nickolas: Paul (25%); Romney (23%); Santorum (22%); Gingrich (11%); Perry (10%); Bachmann (6%). Iowa requires a level of commitment from supporters unlike anywhere else. Those with the best state organization and strongest levels of commitment do especially well (Paul and Paul). Also, since Independents and Dems can participate if they want to cross over — as Indies did for Obama in ’08 — that’s likely to help Paul the most. Nefarious (aka loyal) Dems are going to support anyone but Romney to ensure a protracted GOP race, with Paul and Santorum benefitting most.
Rod Jetton: I think Ron Paul will just nip Romney and Rick Santorum will get third. Newt probably finishes in 4th. The Ron Paul forces are dedicated and with his numbers going up they and their friends have started believing he can win. They will turn out and surprise all the experts.
Greg Harris: Santorum – 26%; Romney – 25%; Paul – 21%; Gingrich – 12%; Bachman – 8%; Perry – 7%; Huntsman – 1%. Santorum’s diligent grassroots work throughout the State this past year will pay off, resulting in more ardent caucus warriors advocating his case, and moving some on-the-fence Bachman and Perry supporters. Ron Paul’s fanatical base will still assure him over an over 20% showing. The minority moderate voters will hold their noses and back Romney.
Zack Adams (RP Staff): 1. Romney; 2. Santorum; 3. Paul; 4. Gingrich; 5. Perry; 6. Bachmann
Steven Schulman: Romney; Paul; Santorum; Gingrich; Perry; Bachmann
Artur Davis: Romney 25; Santorum 23; Paul 19
Patrick Derocher (RP Staff): 1) Santorum; 2) Paul; 3) Romney. These three will be fairly close together, ranging from maybe 18% to 25%. Santorum’s boost is underreported by the polls, simply because of the rapidity with which this race is changing and has been changing for the past 9 months. Same goes for Paul, since most of these polls (a) only look at registered Republicans, while independents can register to vote in the caucuses and (b) do not call cell phone numbers, which are disproportionately used by the younger voters Paul seems to attract. With a strong SoCon in Santorum, there will be even less enthusiasm for Romney than there is right now, though how a third place finish would affect him in NH, SC, and beyond would depend upon how close the margins are. As for the lower tier, my gut says that Perry will pull ahead of Gingrich, to the extent that that matters (only insofar as Gingrich may then drop out before NH). Given her continued, and even intensified, ridiculousness, I am not convinced that Michele Bachmann won’t finish behind even Huntsman, but I that’s really just a vague hunch.
David Snyder: I predict Obama finishes 1st in the Democratic Iowa Caucus.
Chris Schulz, RP Staff: Ron Paul 23%; Mitt Romney 22%; Newt Gingrich 15%; Rick Santorum 14%; Rick Perry 8%; Kim Jong Un 6%; Vladimir Putin 108%
John Roach: Romney – 27%; Paul – 25%; Santorum – 17%; Perry – 12%; Gingrich – 10%; Bachmann – 6%; Huntsman – 2%; Other – 1%
John Johnson: Mitt Romney; Rick Santorum; Ron Paul; Newt Gingrich; Michele Bachmann; Rick Perry
Ronald J. Granieri: 1. Paul; 2. Romney; 3. Santorum; 4. Gingrich; 5. The Field
Leah Saris (RP Staff): 1. Mitt Romney; 2. Ron Paul; 3. Rick Santorum
And saving the best for last…
John Y. Brown, III:The Italian Stallion is back! No, not Rocky Balboa, the seemingly washed up prize fighter, training in the streets of Philadelphia for a Cinderella shot at the world boxing title. But Rick Santorum, the seemingly washed up former US Senator (and of Italian descent) who is from Pennsylvania but training in the streets of Iowa this week for a Cinderella shot at winning the Iowa caucus for the republican presidential nominee. I assume Santorum is playing the Rocky card. He should. The symbolism is too rich….and the Rocky angle too compelling. Does Mitt Romney, symbolically speaking, remind anyone of Apollo Creed, the remote and self-assured champ?
It’s a powerful narrative. An all-American narrative that pulls at our heartstrings and reminds us that little known underdogs can emerge from nowhere and stun the presumptive winner. That’s what Rocky did. And Rocky won an Oscar that year for Best Picture.
So, how about Rick Santorum? He suffers a few disadvantages when compared to Rocky. First, this is reality not an inspirational movie script. Second, Rocky had more heart than brains. Santorum probably has those traits in reverse….not a good prescription for such an extreme underdog. Third, Rocky didn’t get distracted from the task at hand by talking incessantly against gays and gay marriage. And fourth, well, lets admit it. Rick doesn’t have Mick the salty, fatherly trainer from the school of hard knocks. If he did, I’d say Sen Santorum may just be able to pull off an historic upset. As it stands, I say Creed (ahem, Mitt Romney) by TKO with Ron Paul nudging out the Italian Stallion for second by a nose.