Three tickets out of Iowa?

By | January 3, 2012

Throughout the day, pundits have been proclaiming that there would only be three tickets out of Iowa – the candidates that come in first, second and third in the state’s caucuses.

With 41% of Iowa voters answering that they had not made up their minds yet, election-watchers could be up for a wild ride. Take into account that Iowa is also a partial delegate state which means that the candidates will receive a number of delegates proportional to the number of votes they get, and it begs the question – why only three tickets?

With seven candidates in the race, should we expect that four will be finished once Iowa’s precincts report?

Romney, Santorum and Paul are widely expected to top the results, but Iowa has had surprises before and many in Iowa are still undecided.

Lately, Santorum has been soaring in Iowa polls and Perry has been retaking some of the ground he had lost during the fall debates. Judging by Gingrich’s stellar crash, it would appear that Santorum and Perry are benefiting the most from Newt’s fall.

So who might get the lucky three tickets out of Iowa? Rep. Bachmann says she already has her tickets, Romney isn’t predicting a win, Santorum is hopeful and Paul is hosting some rather large gatherings.

My prediction is that Santorum will pull out a surprise win with Paul close behind.  Romney and Gingrich will be fighting over what the election analysts insist is the crucial 3rd spot – I see Romney winning that spot. The 4th spot will be the actual watermark so there will actually be four tickets out of Iowa – a seat Perry or Gingrich could take.

If Perry takes the 4th spot, Gingrich will likely not have the funding to continue. If Gingrich takes that final seat, Perry might have the funds to continue for a bit, but a projected poor showing in New Hampshire and no chance for delegates in Virginia means it wouldn’t make much difference. That means Huntsman and Bachmann will be left to hitchhike or give up along with either Perry or Gingrich – we are but hours from finding out.

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