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Big Win for Santorum! Game over for Paul, Bachmann, and Perry

With 99% of the vote in Santorum and Romney are in a virtual tie.  Santorum is up by 18 votes (so it could go either way).  It does not really matter much which pulls through, the results will be the same no matter what.  The results are:

  1. Senator Rick Santorum will get a huge momentum boost and money boost.  He will likely raise more in the next week than he has this entire campaign.  He will move on to play in NH, where he has apparently moved from 2 percent a week ago to 5% pre-Iowa, to now 10% among those to heard of Iowa results.  This suggest some momentum for him.   Perry is dropping out, which is a huge boost to him also.  If Perry endorses him, Santorum would get a critical infusion of support that could turn the tide in his favor.  Onto NH for today’s big winner. President Santorum sounds a lot better to me than President Obama.
  2. Romney held firm.  To some degree it is unfortunate for him that Paul came in 3rd, and is unfortunate that Bachmann and Perry are dropping out (Perry is re-thinking, and Bachmann would have to be insane to stay in the race).  This puts him going into NH against Huntsman (who is gaining, but well behind), Paul (who just under performed in Iowa and is now unlikely to be a serious threat), Gingrich who has decided to fight hard against Romney, and Santorum (who at 5% is up 3 in the last week, and will likely gain another 5-10% with today’s win).  NH, SC, and FL will all be tests for Romney.  I’m not sure he needs to win them all, but that would sure help him.
  3. Paul is a big loser today.  He places behind Romney and behind Santorum.  3rd place is still not first.  He needed first place to really have any sort of shot to win the nomination.  He will continue to run, but at the fringe.
  4. Gingrich came in 4th.   He may want to play in NH, but if he does not do well there, he will need to re-think his campaign.  I expect he will go all-out against Romney there.  If Gingrich can win or come close, he may follow McCain’s path to victory.  If not, Gingrich will face game over.
  5. Perry needed to win.  At the least he needed a top 3 finish.  He is wise to re-think his campaign.  He will drop out since he has no chance to win, and he is not a fringe candidate.  The good news for Perry is that — having gone through this once, Perry is well prepared if he decides to run again later.
  6. Bachmann’s campaign is over.  She placed behind Perry (who is dropping out), and she should drop out too.
So bottom line is:
Winners: Santorum
Losers: Paul, Bachmann, Perry
Neutral: Romney, Huntsman, Gingrich (though for Romney Neutral is good.  For Gingrich, Neutral still means he keeps falling in the polls, and for Huntsman Neutral means he still is a long-shot)
In NH, look for Gingrich to go 100% after Romney, and rise slightly,  for Santorum to surge, for Paul to drop slightly, and for Huntsman to rise.  Romney will drop in the polls some, undecideds will decide 2 to 1 for someone other than Romney.  That said, Romney is up by alot.  He could likely lose 10 points and still win in NH.
Just heard of McCain endorsement for Romney.  Well timed since it would hurt Romney in Iowa, but help in NH, SC, and FL.
NH is looking very important.  It is Gingrich’s 2nd chance, Huntsman’s first, and it is Santorum’s chance to make it a 1v1 race.  It is also interesting in that it should be an everybody v Romney race…. given that Romney is so far ahead.

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