Romney Beats Santorum in 8-Vote Squeaker

Ron Paul finishes third
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2012 7:22 PM CST
Updated Jan 4, 2012 1:46 AM CST
Iowa Caucuses: And They're Off
Barb Hansen tallies votes during a caucus of precinct 42 near Smithland, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Dave Weaver)

Mitt Romney has prevailed in what could well be the closest primary or caucus result ever. With the final precinct reporting, Iowa's GOP says Romney has beaten Rick Santorum by just eight votes, with 30,015 to Santorum’s 30,007 out of a total of 122,255 votes cast. Politico (via AP) ranks the candidates in this order:

  • Mitt Romney, 24.6%
  • Rick Santorum, 24.5%
  • Ron Paul, 21.4%
  • Newt Gingrich, 13.3%
  • Rick Perry, 10.3%
  • Michele Bachmann, 5%
  • Jon Huntsman, .6%

Ron Paul finished third, a result he described as a ticket out of Iowa. The night's big losers were Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, who has decided to reassess his campaign. Gingrich's fourth-place finish may be good enough for his short-term prospects. One notable stat from a survey of caucus-goers: About one-third said electability—as in, anyone who can beat Obama—is the most important attribute for a candidate. That's up from 7% in 2008, and would seem to bode well for Romney. And it turns out Herman Cain still mattered: He received 58 votes, enough to have handed victory to Santorum with 50 votes to spare. (Read more Iowa caucuses stories.)

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