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Thursday, Apr 24, 2014

How the Iowa Caucus Works and Why Rick Santorum Can Win

  • (Photo: REUTERS/John Gress)
    Republican presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum campaigns at the Legends American Grill in Marshalltown, Iowa, December 30, 2011.
January 2, 2012|2:19 pm

The Iowa caucus is like a primary election and a party precinct meeting combined. In previous caucus elections, the candidate who had shown a rise in the polls just prior to the caucus outperforms expectations. This suggests that Rick Santorum is the most likely candidate to win the Iowa caucus.

Any Iowa resident who will be at least 18 years of age by the date of the general election, Nov. 6, 2012, can vote in the Iowa caucus on Jan. 3.

Technically, you must also be a registered Republican to vote in the Republican contest, but you can register when you arrive at the caucus. So, there will be some who voted in the Democratic caucus in 2008, or who consider themselves independents or members of a third party who will vote in the Republican contest.

Voters must arrive at the caucus site for their precinct by 7 p.m. If they arrive late, they will not be allowed to vote. For this reason, some candidates have urged their supporters to show up early.

There are 1,774 precincts in Iowa. The caucus meetings are usually held in a school gym or church building.

After reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and getting a count of the number present, representatives from each of the candidates will be given time to speak and try to persuade everyone to vote for their candidate. The candidates themselves will also have the opportunity to speak at some of the precincts.

After that, everyone will vote by writing the name of the candidate they are voting for on a blank sheet of paper and putting it in a box.

For the Democratic caucus, candidates must get at least 15 percent of the vote. Those who voted for a candidate that did not meet the threshold requirement would vote again for a different candidate. In the Republican caucus, there is no threshold requirement so everyone votes just once.

The results of the vote will be phoned in by each precinct chair to the Iowa Republican headquarters, which will announce the results to the media.

After voting for the presidential candidate, voters will be free to leave, but the meeting will then choose leaders for the party's county committees, choose delegates for the county convention, and vote on platform issues.

The most recent poll in Iowa, conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP) on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, shows a three-way tie between Texas Congressman Ron Paul, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Each of these candidates had the support of between 18 and 20 percent of the 1,340 polled, and the margin of error is 2.7 percent.

Even though Santorum has spent more time in Iowa than any other candidate, he has polled in last place among the candidates competing in Iowa most of the year. So, even a third place finish would exceed expectations for his campaign.

There are other reasons to believe that Santorum could actually finish in first place. There has been much consternation among social conservative leaders over the fact that they have not agreed on which candidate to support. With Santorum now showing he has a chance to win, some social conservatives who had been backing Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry will likely change their vote to Santorum.

In the PPP poll, 48 percent of Bachmann supporters said that Santorum was their second choice. Perry supporters also most often cited Santorum as their second choice (27 percent), followed closely by Paul (25 percent).

The fact that Santorum is surging late is also to his benefit. It means that his opponents have not been running negative ads against him and will not have time to run negative ads before Tuesday night's voting begins.

Santorum also has the lowest unfavorable rating (30 percent) and highest favorability rating (60 percent) of any other candidate.

A top three finish in Iowa will help Santorum stay in the race, but he still lags far behind Romney and Paul in money and organization. Keeping his campaign going on a shoestring budget beyond Iowa will be challenging. Santorum will need a respectable finish in New Hampshire's Jan. 10 primary and a strong showing in South Carolina's Jan. 21 primary.

On the Web: http://caucuses.desmoinesregister.com/how-to-caucus/

http://iowagop.org/caucus/

Contact: napp.nazworth@christianpost.com
Source URL : http://www.christianpost.com/news/how-the-iowa-caucus-works-and-why-rick-santorum-can-win-66184/