[caption id=”” align=”alignright” width=”260” caption=”Demographic of Republican Caucus-goers in Iowa”][/caption]
I will start by saying that I (nor anyone that I have heard) would imply that the demographics of the people participating in the Iowa Caucuses last night would be a representative sample of the population of the United States.
But damn; seriously? This is what is being used to cull the field?
A 99% white participation differs considerably even from the nationwide Republican demographics [1. CNN: Iowa caucus-goers, by the numbers ]. A Gallup survey [2. Gallup: Republicans Nationwide Are Similar in Composition to 2008] showed that nationwide, the Republican party is only 87% non-Hispanic white. So a 12% point difference between Iowa and the rest of the party.
So I think it is fair to say that Iowa represents an extremely homogeneous subsample of the Republican party at least ethnically, but I would argue that it could be stretched to say culturally as well.
So why couldn’t they make up their mind last night? [3. NY Times: Romney Wins Iowa Caucus by 8 Votes]
If we look at only the top three candidates, Romney, Santorum, and Paul who probably represent the viable candidates at this point, the breakdown is crazy close. I’m guessing that just by looking at the graph, you can’t tell who won.
The current status seems to be a hard division between fiscal conservatives (Romney), social conservatives (Santorum), and libertarians (Paul). From my perspective, I just don’t see how this has an easy shake out.
The social conservative block has problems with Romney’s historical stance on issues like abortion, something they rarely budge on. And not to mention the unspoken bias against his Mormonism. Paul’s isolationism stance turns off a huge number of people. And his desire to massively trim down the federal government even to a point that it makes some Tea Party people nervous. Santorum just doesn’t seem to have much depth beyond his social issues. [4. NY Times: First Vote Reinforces G.O.P.’s Ideological Divide]
At this point I think it is obvious that Romney will take New Hampshire. I feel like Santorum has a good shot at South Carolina. But that doesn’t seem to settle anything yet.