20 January 2012

The 2012 GOP Iowa Caucuses - Final Canvass results - comparison to prelims

The final results of the Iowa caucuses have been published by the Republican party, minus the results from 8 precincts, due to errors described in the Des Moines Register article from 01/19/2012.

All the preliminary stuff was on this thread.

Here I have created a table comparing the preliminary results as to the final results. For the final results, the data in parentheses (excluding the margin column) reflects a change in the raw votes and the percentages vis-a-vis the preliminary results.


Rick Santorum (R - PA) won the Iowa caucuses by 34 votes, or +0.03%.




Iowa 2012
Preliminary Caucus Results
Margin

Iowa 2012
Margin
Delegates (%)
Mitt Romney
30,015
24.56%
Romney +8 (+0.01%)

Rick Santorum
29,839
(-168)
24.56%
(+0.01)
Santorum +34 (+0.03%)
6
21.43%
Rick Santorum
30,007
24.55%


Mitt Romney
29,805
(-210)
24.53%
(-0.03%)
6
21.43%
Ron Paul
26,219
21.45%


Ron Paul
26,036
(-183)
21.43%
(-0.02%)
6
21.43%
Newt Gingrich
16,251
13.30%


Newt Gingrich
16,163
(-88)
13.30%
(0.00%)
4
14.29%
Rick Perry
12,604
10.31%


Rick Perry
12,557
(-47)
10.33%
(+0.02%)
3
10.71%
Michele Bachmann
6073
4.97%


Michele Bachmann
6046
(-27)
4.99%
(-0.01%)
0
0.00%
John Huntsman
745
0.61%


John Huntsman
739
(-6)
0.61%
(0.00%)
0
0.00%
No Preference
135
0.11%


No Preference
147
(+12)
0.12%
(+0.01%)
0
0.00%
Herman Cain
58
0.05%


Herman Cain
45
(-13)
0.04%
(-0.01%)
0
0.00%
all others
117
0.09%


all others
122
(+5)
0.10%
(+0.01%)
0
0.00%
TOTAL:
122,224
100.00%


TOTAL:
121,501
(-723)
100.00%
25
(of 28)
100.00%






In my analysis of the preliminary results, I wrote:

"So, until the final canvasses are in, it would be foolhardy to declare either Romney or Santorum the winner. Those 8 outstanding precincts may make the difference. Plus, in the long run, it is meaningless: the will both get the same number of pledged delegates. In fact, Santorum may get one more since he won almost double so many counties as Romney."



What can we learn from these results?



1.) We can learn that in an extremely close race like the 2012 Iowa caucuses, you should never declare a winner until the final results are in and certified. That the Iowa Republican Party, followed by the media, was so bound and determined to call Romney the winner based on prelim figures is just mind-bogglingly stupid, especially in what will probably end up going down in history as THE squeaker contest of all the 2012 primaries!

Should this kind of margin in the preliminary count from Election Night 2012 from one or more states occur between President Obama and the Republican nominee, then you can bet that that state will not be called, that recounts will happen and all sorts of jazz, including lawyers and lawsuits. George W. Bush, Jr. won Florida with an official canvass margin of +537 votes, or +0.009%, more than three times smaller than Santorum's win in IA. And, after recounts, George W. Bush, Jr. was declared the winner in FL.

Even more mind-bogglingly stupid is that, after having called the race a "win" for Romney based on a mere 8-vote lead in the prelim count, the Iowa GOP suddenly called the race a "tie" as soon as it was apparent that Santorum won with a larger but still quite lean margin of 34 votes.

Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com is reporting
 that had those 8 "lost" (chuckle, chuckle) precincts been counted, then Santorum's lead would be even wider, by +69, almost double his official winning margin - so this judgement call by the Iowa GOP is an extreme embarrassment to the Republican Party, I would say, and more importantly, an embarrassment to electioneering as a whole.

We have had enough cases of "razor-thin" preliminary figures from races on the local, state and national level to know that you NEVEREVER call the winner until the recount is done and the final canvass is in. That is neither a Democratic nor Republican talking point, it is simply common sense!



2.) In total, quite apparently, 723 votes from the preliminary results did not make it into the final results and we do not know yet how many of those votes were from the 8 precincts that somehow got "lost". Every single candidate that was not a write-in lost votes over the preliminary totals.



3.) It is an interesting side-note that Mitt Romney was leading in the preliminary totals with 24.56% and Rick Santorum ended up winning with exactly the same percentage of 24.56% - so the topline in this race did not budge even an inch, only the name of the winner was changed.



4.) Due to the extremely close nature of this race, according the the GREEN PAPERS, in terms of delegates (which they call "soft unpledged"), it is currently a three-way tie in the Jayhawk State between Santorum, Romney and Paul, each with 6 delegates. This means that, should former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich (R - GA) win the South Carolina open primary tomorrow, there will be no clear leader in the GOP field:



Right now, with IA and NH, here the delegate count:



Romney: 14
Paul: 9
Santorum: 6
Gingrich: 4



SC is WTA per CD and then for some delegates, winner take all for the entire state, but because of the 50% penalty for frontloading, SC will only have 25 delegates instead of 50. If Gingrich wins overall but Romney wins some CD's, then Gingrich could jump to 16-20 delegates, and Romney may jump to 16 delegates. So, unless Romney really wins in SC tomorrow, the field really is wide-open. More on this in my upcoming preview of SC.



5.) There are some interesting names that also got caucus votes in Iowa: Sarah Palin got 23 votes, Don Trump got 5 votes, Paul Ryan got 3, Rudi Guiliani, Mike Huckabee, Condoleeza Rice and Tim Pawlenty all got 2 votes apiece. And even Pat Buchanan, who won here in 1996, got one vote. Also John McCain and very interestingly, Ralph Nader both got 1 vote.

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