After a year of campaigning, months of speculation about who might jump in, and the rise, fall and bowing out of two serious contenders the Iowa contest is finally upon us. Latest polling has shown a toss-up between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney with Rick Santorum closing in quickly, even surging ahead of Newt Gingrich in some polls.
Although the polls are mixed I believe ultimately Mitt Romney will have the day garnering support from about a quarter of the caucus participants tomorrow with Ron Paul potentially coming in a third behind the surging former senator form Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum. While the polls out show Santorum peaking at around 16% I believe that he will break the twenty point mark due to a late injection of support coming from anti-Romney voters defecting from the Gingrich and Bachmann camps. At the end of the day these voters are out to ensure that a conservative is the party’s nominee and will see that they are splitting the conservative vote by backing these candidates that will not win at the end of the day. At this point I expect to see Michelle Bachmann drop out of the race, although I don’t believe she will endorse anyone because she is going to be hoping that the eventual candidate will consider her for the VP slot. Additionally for the remainder of the race Ron Paul will be stagnant staying around the ten percent mark.
This strong finish in Iowa for Santorum in combination with what is expected to be a strong debate performance on Saturday will result in a second place finish in New Hampshire which will in turn continue the snowball’s growth as the Senator continues to gain ground nationally. Also, I don’t expect Newt to be nearly as good in this New Hampshire debate as he has been in the previous expose’s, I expect him to come off as bitter and as a whiner with few good things to say about the other candidates. After New Hampshire you will see the irrelevant campaign of Jon Huntsman come to an end with his endorsement of Mitt Romney.
South Carolina is where this campaign will become a truly two man race; by this point I believe Newt will have nationally fallen back to single digits and Rick Perry will be hanging in for his last ride in this political rodeo. I expect a strong rally of support around the now dominate anti-Romney candidate and new TEA Party champion, Rick Santorum. His campaign will be flush with cash and plenty able to go toe-to-toe economically with the establishment candidate, Mitt Romney. I don’t think it will even be close; Santorum 45%, Romney 30%, and the other candidates combined receiving 25%! From this point forward it’s a two man race that I believe will end long before the convention due to Romney’s inability to garner support from more than around 1/3 of the party. Santorum will be our party’s next presidential nominee!