Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Mitt Romney in Iowa, 2008 vs. 2012

Interesting factoid of the day: In the 2008 Iowa Republican caucuses, Romney got 25.2% of the votes. Then Romney campaigned hard for another 4 years and poured millions of dollars into Iowa during the final stretch (including the money spent by allegedly "independent" SuperPACs on his behalf). And in the 2012 Iowa Republican caucuses yesterday he got ... 24.55% of the vote.

(In 2008 Romney got 30,021 votes; in 2012 he got 30,015 votes.)

One might be tempted to conclude that there is a pretty firm ceiling on support for Romney in the Republican primary electorate—and all the national polls taken in 2011 suggest that this isn't true only in Iowa. New Hampshire seems to be an exception, so Romney must be relieved that the next Republican primary happens there. But soon after that, there's South Carolina ...

Some further details from Eric Kleefeld at TPM, below.

—Jeff Weintraub

Talking Points Memo
January 4, 2012 - 12:59 a.m.
The Iowa Caucuses: How Did Romney ‘12 Stack Up To Romney ‘08?
By Eric Kleefeld

So how did Mitt Romney’s performance in Iowa compare to the last time he ran for president, in the 2008 cycle — with the difference that this time, he has been the big national frontrunner?

In the 2008 caucuses, in which Romney made a major effort to become the conservative opposition to John McCain, he ended up getting 30,021 raw votes, 25% of the total vote, for a second-place finish — a humiliating finish behind Mike Huckabee’s 40,954 votes, 35% of the total. Indeed, that bad result threw Romney off his momentum going into New Hampshire, which he then lost to John McCain, who went on to win the Republican nomination.

Tuesday, Romney garnered … 25% of the vote again, and about 30,000 votes (the exact figure is still being tabulated).

In 2008, Romney carried mainly the northeastern area of the state, and the far west.

In the 2012 caucuses, he mainly carried the east (though the northeast corner had some strong posts for Ron Paul and Rick Santorum), and the major population center of central Iowa, Polk County (Des Moines). The west went mainly to Santorum, though Romney did carry a couple scattered counties in the west plus other areas of the state.