Friday, January 4, 2008

A Short Commentary on Iowa

by Brent Moritz

Well, the Iowa Caucuses have come and we are beginning to see some of the results. First, this is part of American democracy in action: Regardless of your political leanings it is a good thing to see an African American carry the state for his party, and even more remarkable is the fact that Obama and Clinton together garnered 2/3 of those votes.

On the Republican side, in a previous post I mentioned that while it would be nice for Romney to win, he did not have to do so. Given the high numbers of evangelical conservatives that hit the polls, it is not too surprising that Huckabee did so well. In part, Romney's work at courting the evangelical vote was countered by the sudden and unexpected rise of Huckabee, a Baptist minister who naturally would have the support of many of the social conservatives.

The last minister to do so well in Iowa was Pat Robertson in 1988 with his second place finish. Another Pat (Buchanan) did very well in 1996 and nearly carried. Both of these candidates were excited about their performance and seemingly gained momentum heading into the other primaries. Yet over time, both of these candidacies faltered because their message only appealed to a small segment of Iowa voters and they did not fare nearly as well in a national campaign.

Huckabee did better than I expected, but still only gathered 1/3 of the Republican vote. Romney came in at 1/4 of the Republican vote and is in position to come in second again in New Hampshire. It is also interesting that McCain came in fourth, even though he has strong name recognition and caucused strongly in Iowa in previous years. Admittedly, McCain has focused more on New Hampshire this year, but real test will begin after that primary as non-viable candidates will drop to the sidelines over the coming weeks.


Carl said...

I sure hope you are correct as to this comment: “the real test will begin after that primary as non-viable candidates will drop to the sidelines over the coming weeks.”!

Personally Huckabees huge victory among Evangelical Christians just further alienates me from the Republican Party (for which I am currently a member, although I do not know for how much longer).
As a Christian myself, I refuse to go along with the one issue politics of Huckabee and Evangelicals. Huckabee is not on par with many core beliefs of Republicans (myself included) and my own experience with Evangelicals both in general and politically has shown them to be very hypocritical “Sunday Christians”.

I hope that either Thompson or Romney can prove Iowa wrong, if Huckabee wins the nomination, I am NOT voting Republican (which I am not on my local candidates anyway)

Carl Strohmeyer; Huckabee wins Iowa with Evangelical vote

Anonymous said...

I hope you are right. I'd like to see Romney do well in NH. And it will be VERY interesting to see how the dynamic changes when less viable candidates drop out of the race. It was unfortunate to see religious affiliation play such a huge role in the Iowa caucuses. This country's got a long way to go in terms of judging people on their true merits.