Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

What Iowa really means when you break down the votes

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30,000 Iowans vote for you = You are a key factor in the race.

16,000 Iowans vote for you = You’re not sure what, if anything, will happen next.

12,000 Iowans vote for you = You go back to your home state to reassess where you are in the campaign.

6,000 Iowans vote for you = They barely say your name on TV throughout the night.

Iowa had 25 delegates on the line. That’s it. Of the top 6 vote-getters, 14,000-16,000 votes separated the top of the pack from the “are they going to continue” pack.

If you took one of the two top vote-getters (Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum) and Newt Gingrich, who came in fourth, their combined votes would have filled Philadelphia’s baseball stadium, the crowd that saw this year’s Winter Classic as the New York Rangers edged the Philadelphia Flyers.

Next year’s Winter Classic might be in the “Big House,” the University of Michigan’s football stadium. To evenly fill that stadium, you could take the voters for Romney, Santorum, Ron Paul, and Gingrich.

Yes, Iowa matters. But when you break down the numbers, there aren’t a lot of there there.

So yes, Rick Santorum has a bright spotlight on him, whether he is the next Mike Huckabee or someone who get the nomination. Mitt Romney have to be thrilled to win; he was looking at second or third and still would have been happy. Ron Paul had a good night. Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Gingrich got more votes than Romney or Santorum, so clearly many Republicans aren’t behind a high-level candidate.

This is why New Hampshire matters. And South Carolina. And a few other states. Let some of the rest of us have a vote.

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