With 99.9% of the GOP vote in Iowa counted it is going to be a close run thing. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum currently tie polling 24.5% of the vote each. Running right behind in third position with 21.4% is Ron Paul leaving the remaining candidates some way behind. Fourth place goes to Newt Gingrich with 13% of the vote. The full Iowa result will be revealed later but it still appears that the nationwide GOP race may be a tight run affair.
13pm GMT January 4, 2012
In the end Mitt Romney secured Iowa by just eight votes. When the number of voters is around 120,000 that is what you call a close run race. Romney ended by polling 24.6% of the vote putting him a fraction in front of Santorum.
Rick Santorum turned out to be the dark horse of the night. Whilst everyone concentrated on the main contenders he edged his way back into the race, big time. Voters who were asked who they would be voting for, a few minutes before they cast their vote, were in the main still undecided. In the end Iowa went for a fresh, young candidate who is a social conservative. He was the former Pennsylvania Senator. In the past he has been known for taking a stance against liberalism. To many his views on society will be a backward stance.
The Washington Post has reported that his victory speech at Iowa read,
“If we have someone who can go out to western Pennsylvania and Ohio and Michigan and Indiana and Wisconsin and Iowa and Missouri and appeal to the voters that have been left behind by a Democratic party that wants to make them dependent instead of valuing their work, we will win this election. I believe in cutting taxes. I believe in balancing budgets . . . But I also believe we as Republicans have to look at those who are not doing well in our society by just cutting taxes and balancing budgets.”
He went on to say, “we need to make sure the economy’s going to be strong for everybody.”
Fine words but are they practical and are they really part of his bigger plan?
To date Santorum has stressed more about Christianity, defence, banning abortion and repealing gay marriage laws. Now that he has surprised even himself, by polling a huge chunk of the vote, he is having to consider the wider electorate. After Iowa he has many more nominations to win. He is now trying to appeal to a huge cross section of the American public.
Will he be able to suceed? Will people believe that the leopard has changed its spots? Time will tell.