Wednesday, January 04, 2012

I Predicted Santorum's Victory and Exact Percentage in Iowa (Also Gingrich's Victory in SC) / Proposed Gingrich-Santorum "Reaganite Pact" / Links to Many Facebook Political Discussions on the GOP Primaries

Romney won by eight votes: 30,015 (24.557%) to 30,007 (24.551%) for Santorum. [1-19-12 Note: now it looks like Santorum actually won by 34 votes]

I made my predictions for the Iowa Caucus in a Facebook post, written on 2 January, the day before the Caucus (Monday), 1 PM ET. Here they are, followed by the actual results, in blue (from this page) and how close I got to each (in red):

Santorum 25% | 24.55082% | + 0.44918

Romney 23% | 24.55737% | - 1.55737

Gingrich 15% | 13.3 % | + 1.7

Paul 14% | 21.4% | - 7.4

Perry 13% | 10.3% | + 2.7

Bachmann 8% | 5% | + 3

Huntsman 2% | 0.6% | + 1.4

I did amazingly well (if I do say so)! Excluding Paul, where I was way off, since I was assuming a marked downward trend and miscalculated that (just as I incorporated a striking upward trend for Santorum; thus many "late-breakers" must have gone for Paul), I was within 3 percentage points for all the other six candidates, and within 1.7% for four of the seven, including three of the top four. The average deviation (whether plus or minus) of all seven was 2.6%.

I got the order right, except for the top two: separated by a mere eight votes, or .006%, and Gingrich/Paul (#3 and #4 spots); thus showing again that my only serious miscalculation was Ron Paul's percentage. If I had given him 18% rather than 14% (taking away two points from Gingrich and one each from Perry and Bachmann, to even it out), then I would have been within 3.4% for all seven candidates, and within 2 points for all except for Paul.

I'd like to see anyone match that! If anyone can find a prediction that came so close, I'd be very interested to see it. In particular, the following prognosticating words of mine in my Facebook post, came true:

Santorum's strategy of working all 99 Iowa counties may indeed have succeeded in the end, as a tortoise and hare strategy, and prime example of "old-fashioned" methods of winning the Caucus.

* * *

Going forward, I think that the most interesting factor now will be the relationship of Santorum and Gingrich: the two mainstream conservative "anti-Romneys" left standing (Paul being too libertarian, but above all: out of the mainstream of the party on foreign policy -- to the left even of Obama --, and a predicted eventual non-factor).

They will -- for the time being -- continue to split the relatively more conservative Republican vote, assuming that Gingrich maintains any of his numbers, such as significant leads in South Carolina and Georgia. Newt's poll numbers may indeed rapidly collapse, with big money and "true-blue" conservatives / Reaganites gravitating to Santorum as the "comeback kid" and Final Non-Romney. If so, then Santorum and Romney will duke it out and, respectively, play Reagan and Bush  in 1980: the classic establishment vs. populist / people's choice scenario.

But the other prime consideration is that Santorum now has the bullseye on his back, and will receive 200 times more scrutiny. Romney's negative ads will now target him: as the biggest threat to Romney's "inevitable" magisterial pundit-proclaimed majestic coronation as the new Establishment / Country Club GOP King. The liberal media and Obama minions will immediately start painting him as a far-right lunatic who would force raped women to have abortions, and ostracize homosexuals and institute a Puritanistic Catholic Theocracy (as if that category even makes any sense). This may stall his momentum or even stop Santorum's "Big Mo" dead in its tracks. He may go the way of all the other rising / falling non-Romneys (Bachmann, Perry, Cain, and probably now Gingrich, respectively). All of that could happen. He'll take a hit, for sure.

What I think will be the wisest, most sensible, classy course of action, from my own Reaganite Gingrich-Santorum / critical of Romney perspective, would be a secret "pact" between Gingrich and Santorum. They clearly like each other and have a lot in common. Asked in television debates to choose another of the candidates that are akin to them, I know that Santorum chose Gingrich at least once, and possibly vice versa. Gingrich last night praised Santorum for his positive campaign and great comeback.

If they can both act as good Catholic men, and maintain this charity, they ought to recognize that the conservative cause lies with both of them now, and that a continuing split may very well cause Romney to be the candidate: a thing both are united in opposing. Therefore, in mutual self-interest, they should agree between themselves for one or the other to bow out, if and when they go below a certain predetermined average percentage in the polls (probably the Real Clear Politics website average, which is regarded as a standard), and that when one of them does, they will immediately endorse and even (possibly) work for the other, in order to assure Reaganite victory and someone besides Romney as the nominee.

This makes perfect political sense to me, on the assumption that the Cause is placed above individual ambitions and egos. It may be humanly impossible, but it is true that despite Gingrich's considerable ego, he has been quite magnanimous and fraternal towards the other candidates. Assuming he is the one to bow out (which seems a safer bet at this juncture), it is conceivable that he could do this: towards a friend, fellow Catholic, and, for the large part, political ally. It would be the classy move for him, and show that his charitable demeanor during previous debates was genuine and not a mere ploy.

Otherwise, I can see the writing on the wall already: Gingrich is already being cast (even by the Fox commentators) as "angry Gingrich": out to get revenge for Romney's smear ads against him. he doesn't want to go down in history as the angry, bitter old man: pouting and whining that he lost (this is how he is being perceived; again, I think it is unjust and unfair). If his numbers fall rapidly, that will be the outcome, and what people will remember about him. He can avoid that fate by showing class and getting out with dignity and endorsing Santorum if the situation dictates this to be the wisest course for the conservative cause. Then he'll be seen as a self-effacing team player, who can still be somewhat of a kingmaker, and thereby maintain relevance and stature. He can do his thing (what he excels at) away from the spotlight and negative nonsense.

Santorum should do the same if it goes the other way, but I think it is at least 70-30 odds that it now swings Santorum's way because of momentum, Newt's famous "baggage" (warranted or not), and America's love for comebacks and working-class middle-American backgrounds of second-generation immigrants. Santorum is the "fresh face." That gives him the edge, on all these counts.

For the record, I continue to like both men a great deal. I still prefer Gingrich overall, but realistically, in terms of politics, I think he is too "damaged" (and it is most unfair, in my opinion) to be the better choice of the two now. Santorum has the better chance in the real world, and I must swallow my relentless idealism. But Santorum is a fabulous candidate, too: a good Catholic and authentic, passionate, "progressive / compassionate conservative". If he succeeds in being elected, he ought to include Gingrich in his administration, in some capacity: as a "feel-good" reward for his support (if my scenario comes to pass).

Additional Facebook (lively!) political discussion threads regarding the Republican primaries:

"'Special Report' Panel on the 'Etch a Sketch' Comment"

"Limbaugh: 'Maybe the conservative alternative to Romney is Romney'"

Non-Romneys and Reaganite Conservatives Continue to Dominate the Popular Primary Vote

"What a shame Gingrich won't be our nominee (nor Santorum: it looks like now)."

"Why Mitt Romney Might Be Even Weaker Than You Think"

"The 'gotcha' Campaign"

A Romney / Rand Paul ticket?

Latest GOP Polls vs. Obama

"Romney Does Flip-Flop and Forces Catholic Hospitals to Distribute Morning-After Pill"

"Gallup state numbers predict huge Obama loss"

"The Republican Establishment's Strategic Blunder"

What Huckabee Said About Romney in 2008 (Reverses Himself Now)

"Cannibals in GOP Establishment Employ Tactics of the Left"

"Drudge, conservative media criticize Newt Gingrich"

"The Man Who Gave Us Newt"

Updated on 22 March 2012.



Dave Armstrong said...

Gingrich already indicates that he may follow my proposed strategy, talking to Laura Ingraham this morning (1-4-12):


Ingraham: Can you see a scenario under which the two of you [Santorum and Gingrich] would align together to try to defeat the establishment candidate, Mitt Romney?

Gingrich: Absolutely. Of course. I mean Rick and I have a 20-year friendship, we are both rebels, we both came into this business as reformers, we both dislike deeply the degree to which the establishment sells out the American people. We both think Washington has to be changed in very fundamental ways, and we have lots of things that fit together. And the thing that’s interesting is if you take the votes, you add to that Perry and Bachmann, you begin to see the size of the conservative vote compared to Romney…if you take, you know, Santorum and Perry and Bachmann and Gingrich you get some sense of what a small minority Romney really represents.

Mercury said...

Dave, do you have anything to say to a certain wing of the Catholic blogosphere (some bloggers I really like, mind you) who call out Santorum and Gingrich as "dissenting Catholics" because of how they would handle the issues of torture and possible war with Iran. Some go so far as to call them "war zealots" and "torture enthusiasts" ... I guess this is base don stuff they said in debates, but it seems like painting with a bit too broad of a brush.

A question I have asked Mark Shea before, but he was busy answering a thousand other commenters, is what really counts as torture in the first place? I see that waterboarding is obviously no better than sticking reeds under someone's fingernails ... but I've seen everything such as sleep deprivation, psychological coercion, and smacking the guy around a bit decried as "torture". So in other words, any kind of pressure put on someone in a ticking time bob scenario would be torture. That hardly seems just, if lives are at stake.

This is all usually combined with support for Ron Paul, who I think is dangerous, or dangerously naive, and who strikes me as anti-Semitic and seems to attract some pretty fringe groups. And while I'd vote for him over Obama, I think what will happen is that he is going to run third party again and try to sabotage the Republican vote à la Perot in 1992. He may be responsible for Obama's reelection.

As for me, I love the idea of Gingrich and Santorum teaming up. I like Gingrich best, but Santorum is a good guy too. I think that together they'd have a lot of substance.

Cheryl Jones said...

Very good on your predictions. I have an article on Romney at my site, but you can't read it as this particular comment format does not allow me to post my url.

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Mercury,

I went through a big debate on all this "torture" business about five years ago. I found that little rational discussion was taking place, and that bores me quicker than yesterday's news.

It all depends on the definition of torture, of course, and enhanced interrogation. But I think there is a lot of naivete as to the realities of terrorism and what to do about it. Historically, the Church allowed some measure of coercion in the Inquisition that was perfectly justifiable.

I agree with you pretty much all down the line.

Hi Cheryl,

I followed your name to a blog and read a few things. Good work. Glad to hear you like Gingrich.

Mercury said...

What kind of coercion in the Inquisition was justifiable?

Historically the Church allowed some pretty severe forms of torture, that's surely true - but what was justifiable and what wasn't?

Or do you have a good link?

Dave Armstrong said...

I do have these two papers. The big debate was so long ago I can hardly remember what I argued then. :-)

The Inquisition: Its Purpose and Rationale Within the Mediæval Worldview

The Controversial "Torture" Issue as Related to Catholic Development of Doctrine on the Treatment of Heretics

Dave Armstrong said...

See also these two:

Torture and Punishment as a Problem in Catholic Moral Theology: Part I. The Witness of Sacred Scripture (Fr. Brian W. Harrison)

Torture and Punishment as a Problem in Catholic Moral Theology: Part II. The Witness of Tradition and Magisterium (Fr. Brian W. Harrison)

Mercury said...

Thanks Dave.

It seems to be the general gist that there has been a development on how the Church views torture, but at the same time, our definition of torture also needs to be defined, am I right?

In any event, calling Santorum a "war-mongering torture enthusiast" is extreme. And I don't know where Catholics get the idea that Paul is the answer. Someone who appears regularly advancing conspiracy theories on the Alex Jones show can't be the answer.

Dave Armstrong said...

I agree that there should be more care and attention given to definitions, yes.

S said...

Now that you've established your powers of prognostication, any prediction on the Superbowl?

Dave Armstrong said...

LOL Naw! I'll stick to politics!