State of the Race in Iowa
Great Martin post. Read the whole thing, but some highlights:
The major question now looming over his surge — is it for real? — will be emphatically answered by how he finishes in the caucuses. If Huck can withstand the pounding he’s taking (and will continue to take) from Romney and Romney allies as well as the heightened scrutiny he’s getting from the MSM, he’ll be a serious contender into New Hampshire and beyond. If he can’t succeed in a low-turnout caucus dominated by his kind of people (His kind of people, if you will), he’s Howard Dean.
Mitt’s folks are increasingly optimistic about Iowa. They see Huck falling back down to earth in polling and are counting on the mainstream conservative vote to win the day. The better the weather and higher the turnout, the stronger their chances. They recognize that if they can chop Huck’s lead down to within the margin of error, their organization can deliver enough points to pull out the W.
Geographically, Romney is strongest in eastern Iowa, metro Des Moines and southwestern Iowa (Council Bluffs). If they can sustain the inevitable hit they’ll take from Huck’s Christian conservatives in northwest Iowa (where Keyes/Bauer/Forbes performed well) and central Iowa, they think victory can be attained.
Where his support comes from is key. Is he, with the help of Steve King, taking from the hard-core conservatives in the state that have coalesced around Huck? Or would he pull from the Republican regulars who may have been leaning Mitt but are more culturally simpatico with a plain-talkin’ Tennessean?
The answer, assuming he can move some votes in these final days, could be determinative as to who wins the caucuses.