The Spectacle Blog

Santorum Won More Than a Moral Victory

By on 1.4.12 | 8:46AM

John Tabin is correct to say that the history books will show that Mitt Romney won the 2012 Iowa Republican Caucus. But Rick Santorum won far more than a moral victory.

A month ago, not only was Santorum was polling in single digits, he was polling behind Michele Bachmann. If any of us had said one month ago that Santorum would finish second in the Iowa Caucus much less miss first place by single digits we might have found ourselves consigned to a white room with rubber walls forced to listen to Jon Huntsman's speeches.

Santorum made efficient use of his limited resources in Iowa. He ran a Moneyball campaign. As Michael Li points out, Santorum spent $1.65 per vote while Romney spent $113.07 per vote. So Romney outspent Santorum by a margin of nearly 100-to-1 and yet finished on top by only eight votes. Romney attained the emptiest of victories.

In light of last night's second place triumph in Iowa, I'm sure Santorum will soon have more resources at his disposal although I'm sure they won't approach Romney's treasure chest. But Santorum does have a formula for success and it could take him far.

Even if Romney wins New Hampshire, his nomination is far from inevitable. The most recent poll in New Hampshire had Romney leading Ron Paul by 23 points and Santorum by 38 points. If Romney wins the Granite State by less than 10% then he's in deep trouble in South Carolina. Santorum will smell blood in the waters of Lake Marion.

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