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The old bit of political wisdom is that there are three tickets out of Iowa. And it just isn’t true.Six candidates are going to press on. But one is out for sure.
Mitt Romney will finish in the top three. He has the most money, and leads polls in Iowa and nationally. He survives.
Ron Paul will finish in the top three in Iowa- he has a lot of cash on hand and a good organisation in New Hampshire. He’d have a reason to fight on even if he underperforms because his candidacy is also a protest.
Rick Santorum will vastly outperform what was expected of his campaign even two weeks ago. He has no money, but he’s not going to bow out the moment he takes centre stage.
Rick Perry has too much money to quit. Unless he finished in last place, expect him to make a perfunctory stop in New Hampshire before camping out in South Carolina and hoping that an anti-Mormon surge powers him back into the discussion.
Jon Huntsman is likely to get 1 per cent or less tonight. But he wasn’t competing in Iowa. If he doesn’t finish in the top two in New Hampshire, he’ll drop out next week.
Newt Gingrich has already resolved to press on even while taking a bad loss tonight. He’ll try to do the same thing Perry does – hope Romney makes a dramatic mistake or runs into a wall of anti-Mormonism in the South.
But Michelle Bachmann will almost certainly drop out before New Hampshire. She won the Iowa Straw Poll in the summer and hasn’t stopped dropping since. Her staff has been abandoning her for Ron Paul. She has been desperately trying to claim that Ron Paul wants to “wipe Israel off the face of the earth.” The end is near.
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