By Carole on Jan 1, 2012
The most highly anticipated poll of likely Republican Iowa caucus goers is out and the most important number in it is 41. The final Des Moines Register poll before Tuesday's caucuses shows moderate Mitt Romney still unable to break out of the mid-20's after 5 years of campaigning. It also shows libertarian-leaning Ron Paul is at 22% which most believe is the best he'll ever do in any state by far. And the conservative field of Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum are at a combined 45%. Why is it appropriate to combine their level of support instead of simply comparing each of their poll numbers to that of the frontrunners? Because according to the poll, 41% say they could still be persuaded to support another candidate and persuasion is a large part of the Iowa caucuses.
In a traditional primary election each voter enters their polling place, casts their ballot and leaves. But in Iowa, people arrive at their caucus sites, take their seats and then each candidate is allowed to have one surrogate speak on its behalf. This year those brief but important presentations may go a long way toward convincing conservative Iowans to consolidate behind one conservative candidate and make sure that neither the moderate nor the libertarian isolationist leaves the Hawkeye State with a win.
Many have tried to spin the fact that such a large percentage of caucus goers remain persuadable as a lack of enthusiasm about their choices. But it's more likely that while certain conservative candidates may be more appealing to certain individuals, the majority of caucus goers want a conservative candidate to win on Tuesday in Iowa and on November 6 across the country so they are willing to consider candidates other than their first choice in order to make that happen.
Of course there remains the possibility that the conservative vote in Iowa will split among the four legitimate contenders and Governor Romney will get a head start into New Hampshire or Congressman Paul will get a one-time-only first place showing. But so many Iowans' consistent claims throughout the campaign that they can still be persuaded shows that they understand and are ready to fully participate in their caucuses. The 41 percent are Americans who gather in their communities to share information and listen to each other with open minds in an attempt to make the best, most informed decision they can. And whatever they collectively decide on Tuesday, we thank them for that.
|« Video Casts Santorum As An Unelectable Big Spender||Consolidating Conservatives »|