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December 31st, 2011

Caucus Calculations / Predictions / Guesses

Whatever you want to call it is fine. Below are my caucus predictions. If I’m right, my wife will have to hear about it for four or eight more years. If I’m wrong, everyone and their brother will rip me apart and call me an idiot. Either is fine with me.

While others like to predict the percentage of the actual vote the candidates receive, I prefer to predict the actual number of votes a candidate will garner. The key to caucus predictions is having a clue about turnout. Four years ago as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa, my predictions were taped on the back of a picture hanging in my office. You know, out of sight. This year I don’t have that luxury, so here we go.

Turn Out: 126,924

To be honest, I bumped up my turnout number by 10,000 in the last week. All Fall, I thought turnout would be similar to the 2008 caucus, but I think all the attention the race has received and how deep the field is this year means turnout will be higher. A field that includes Bachmann, Gingrich, Paul, Perry, Romney, and Santorum will turn out more votes that the field that included Giuliani, Huckabee, Hunter, McCain, Romney, and Thompson. There are more serious campaigns operating in Iowa than there was in 2008.

Winner: Mitt Romney by a nose.

Mitt Romney – 28,500 (22.4%)
Rick Santorum – 26,500 (20.8%)
Ron Paul – 23,200 (18.2%)
Perry – 19,500 (15.3%)
Gingrich – 18,900 (14.8%)
Bachmann – 9,800 (7.7%)
Huntsman – 524 (0.004%)

What the heck happened? Conservatives come home to Santorum.

Romney will be rewarded because he is the national frontrunner and the number one issue in this election is defeating President Obama. Congratulations, Governor, now please stop downgrading the Iowa caucuses.

Santorum has broken late and become the media darling in the final week. For a candidate who has been sour about not getting his time, Santorum has been a camera hog when it mattered the most. He has also benefitted from the struggles of Bachmann, Gingrich, and Perry. In the end, Iowa’s social conservatives will come home.

Ron Paul’s impressive grassroots organization has been hyped for weeks now. You know who had the best organization in 2008? Mitt Romney, and it wasn’t enough to win. I have no doubt that the Paul campaign has identified all of their supporters, but just like Romney four years ago, that all he’s going to get. It’s an impressive finish, but not what the Paul supporters are hoping for.

Rick Perry spent gobs of money in Iowa, and while it wasn’t all that effective, it will help him edge out Gingrich. Perry also benefits from having an actual campaign team. What will haunt Perry is what might have been. He’s a great retail politician, but his team refused to use their greatest asset, the candidate himself, until the final two weeks.

Newt Gingrich has bemoaned all of the attack ads that have run against him. While Gingrich is upset with the ads, it’s his own record that has caused him to plummet, so maybe he should be upset with himself. Gingrich did little in terms of building a grassroots organization in Iowa, and now there is nothing that will help him break his fall. I had high hopes for Gingrich. He was the perfect fit for Iowa, but he is a victim of his own over-thinking.

Michele Bachmann is well liked by Iowa Republicans, but she never convinced them that she was ready to occupy the White House. Bachmann’s campaign has also been an ongoing soap opera, and it imploded when Kent Sorenson defected to the Paul campaign with five days to go until the caucuses.

Jon Huntsman did nothing in Iowa, but there will be a few who will vote for him. The 524 votes that I’m predicting is the number that Duncan Hunter received four years ago. To be honest, I don’t know if he’s going to get that.

January 4th Headline – Santorum’s Hard Work Plays Off

Note: This will be déjà vu for Romney. He won the Ames Straw Poll four years ago, but Huckabee got all the headlines. I can see it coming again.

Secondary Headlines:
– Romney Wins – Has Big Lead in New Hampshire
– Iowans Prevent Paul Victory
– No Home Cooking For Bachmann
– Perry and Gingrich Disappoint In Iowa
– Huntsman Awaits Romney in New Hampshire

Other Predictions:
1. Michele Bachmann will not win the county of her birth, Blackhawk. That’s what happens when you finish 6th.

2. Ron Paul will win double-digit counties

3. Rick Santorum will win the most counties in total.

Fire away in the comment section. I made all of this stuff up, so you will not hurt my feelings.

Happy New Year!

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson serves as the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prior to founding Iowa's largest conservative news site, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa during the 2008 Iowa Caucuses. In that capacity, Robinson planned and organized the largest political event in 2007, the Iowa Straw Poll, in Ames, Iowa. Robinson also organized the 2008 Republican caucuses in Iowa, and was later dispatched to Nevada to help with the caucuses there. Robinson cut his teeth in Iowa politics during the 2000 caucus campaign of businessman Steve Forbes and has been involved with most major campaigns in the state since then. His extensive political background and rolodex give him a unique perspective from which to monitor the political pulse of Iowa.

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