NRL News

A Surprise Ahead in Iowa or New Hampshire?

by | Dec 17, 2011

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-Life Former Senator Rick Santorum campaigning heavily in Iowa

As hard as it is to believe, three weeks from next Tuesday Iowa holds its caucuses. Exactly one week later, the first primary of the year, in New Hampshire, January 10, to be exact.

By now if you’ve followed the debates among the pro-life Republican presidential candidates and at least some of the commentary, I don’t have to tell you that practically anything could happen.

Some candidates have soared and then dropped back. One (Herman Cain) withdrew. Others (specifically former Speaker Newt Gingrich) were seemingly an eyelash away from oblivion. Now he is co-front runner with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney whose numbers have been remarkably stable for months.

Pro-Life former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has moved up in New Hampshire polls

But if history tells us anyway—including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s win in the Iowa caucuses four years ago—we may be in for a big surprise in one, or both, of the early states.

Associated Press reporter Ron Fournier wrote a piece Wednesday under the headline, “Look Out for a Santorum Surprise” in Iowa. Former Senator Rick Santorum is a pro-life stalwart who has toiled in Iowa for months and months.

Fournier observed,  “Underfunded, relatively unknown, and largely ignored, the conservative former senator is making strides in Iowa the traditional way: Out-hustling his competitors in all 99 counties, building a grassroots organization beneath the radar, and pleading with voters to help him exceed expectations.”

Fournier cites some obvious signs. Where he drew single-digit crowds for months, “Santorum addressed more than 30 people here Thursday in the middle of the workday. This week, he drew a crowd of 90 in Mount Vernon and nearly 150 in Urbandale. At an antiabortion event in Des Moines attended by several candidates Wednesday, Santorum got by far the best reception.”

By contrast former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has spent almost all of his time in New Hampshire. While well behind Romney, Huntsman’s numbers are being to creep up.

Romney remains ahead in New Hampshire, according to the Suffolk University Poll, with 38% to 20% for Gingrich (up 6% from a month ago), with Huntsman now third with 13%. Paul, who is rising in Iowa, has fallen to 8% here. Huntsman improvement, according to the director of Suffolk University’s polling center, is attributable to his support among Independents who are eligible to vote in New Hampshire’s primary.

In the year of turnabouts—of huge swings in momentum—who knows?

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Categories: Politics