So it looks like Santorum has edged out Romney in Iowa with each getting 25% of the votes,; Ron Paul was a close third at 21%. No other candidates cracked 15% in Iowa.
So, who will win?
It seems now that Santorum has come out of nowhere to become a real contender, right in time. As with Obama's arrival on the scene out of nowhere in 2008, these party machines like to launch a media blitzkrieg promoting a fabricated stable of "contenders" early in these elections to give the illusion of real choice and competition and also to see how the public responds to the stimuli.
First Palin and then Cain were pushed into the forefront, ostensibly as tokens to generate female/black interest in the race. Then Gingrich was shoeorned into the headlines to gauge the temperature of the old timers still fixated on battling the Clinton legacy. But when the Establishment had to put its money where its mouth is, it looks like it's a two-man race now between Romney and Santorum.
I had always wondered why Santorum was not getting more consideration to begin with, as he's one of the few in the field (along with Romney) who looks normal and electable. In fact Santo's late surge will benefit him, as his enemies haven't been collecting dirt on him for four years like Romney. And when the time comes in the general election he can wear his appallingly bland track record as a badge of "bipartisan" honor. Romney is no maverick , but he seems intelligent and headstrong and I feel that Santorum is the more malleable candidate, which suits the power brokers just fine.
Both of them belong to mistrusted religions (Mormonism and Catholicism) within the GOP, but I see Santorum having one huge advantage: he can possibly deliver his home battleground state of PA, which the GOP lost last election. Romney on the other hand has no chance of delivering Massachussets and even if he could it's worth less electoral votes than PA.
The GOP knows that Midwesterners in solid "Red State territory"-- the lower Midwest and South-- may favor Romney, but they will nevertheless vote overwhelmingly for whatever GOP candidate is fielded against Obama. But Santorum I believe has an advantage over Romney in attracting the ethnic/Catholic urban types in the working class areas of key states like Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Iowa, which I don't think Romney has much of a chance with.
So, that's my pick: Santorum in 2012 for the GOP. What say ye?
-- This poll will close around 2am on "Super Tuesday", where a total of 10 states will have their caucuses/primaries. After then, the question may well already be answered, so vote while it's still up in the air.
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