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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