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June 26th, 2011

Romney: Iowa Expectations or a Savvy Strategy?

By Craig Robinson

There are a couple ways of looking at the results of the Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll in regards to Romney. The first is that he has not spent any time in Iowa and yet leads in the first reputable Iowa caucus poll. Romney leads the field with 23 percent, just one point ahead of Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

While it’s nice to lead, Romney’s decision not to come to Iowa, or put up much of a fight here, was done in an effort to lower expectations in the caucuses. Having led in every Iowa poll thus far, his expectations are now on the rise. The poll creates expectations for Romney even thought he’s not here campaigning. That means Iowa is a bigger prize for who ever comes out on top next February.

The other way to look at the results is that Romney’s anti-Iowa strategy is working. Despite spending less than 48 hours in Iowa since the end of the 2008 elections, Romney continues to lead in the poll in the state. His avoidance of Iowa has lowered his expectations in the state to an all time low. While some say that the Iowa Poll will create expectations for Romney, how can one’s expectations increase when you are not present in the state?

Romney is perfectly positioned to reemerge in Iowa after the Ames Straw Poll in August. I don’t expect to see Romney on a prolonged bus tour, but I do think we will see and hear a lot from him on TV and radio. His strategy is risky, and will only work as long as the field in Iowa is relatively weak and lacks national appeal.

Photo by Dave Davidson

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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