If things shake out the way the polls are indicating, Mitt Romney will eke out a narrow victory in the Iowa Caucuses. But really, it’s too close to call and any one of the three frontrunners could claim victory when all is said and done.
The latest Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey has Paul, Romney, and Santorum all within two points of each other. The RCP average of all the polls gives Romney a very narrow lead over Paul with Santorum close behind. That final Des Moines Register poll also has Romney slightly ahead. All the latest polls show a surge for Santorum that may or may not carry him over the finish line in first place.
Romney is still comfortably ahead in New Hampshire. Will the one-two punch of Iowa and New Hampshire start the ball rolling for Romney when the race heads south to SC and FL? This is especially interesting given the recent surge of support for Santorum.The former Pennsylvania senator’s national numbers haven’t shown much movement – yet. If he were to totally surprise and win in Iowa, that will almost certainly change, making him the major alternative to Romney.
But if Romney were to catch fire in South Carolina (primary on 1/21) and win, it is difficult to see where he might be stopped. Florida (primary on 1/31) is Jeb Bush country, and while the former governor has yet to formally endorse any candidate, it is believed by some analysts that he will quietly pass the word and throw his support to Romney. His father, Bush #41 has already come out for Romney, as has most of the Bush family (Jeb’s son is supporting Huntsman.)
Still, 30 days is an eternity in politics – especially in this race. About the only guarantee is that there are still some surprises left before a nominee emerges