Romney, Santorum in Iowa dead heat; Ron Paul a close third

With 95% of votes in, the Des Moines Register is reporting Romney at 24.6%, Rick Santorum at 24.5%, and Ron Paul with a close 3rd place finish at 21.5%.  Gingrich, Perry, and Bachmann are currently in a distant 4th, 5th, and 6th place respectively.

What does this mean?  Absolutely nothing.  No, wait – that’s not exactly right.  It means that Rick Santorum is currently the luckiest man in America.  But probably little else.

Sometimes Iowa picks Presidents.  Other times, the results are so far off they are laughable: Iowa 1988 (R) – Bob Dole (37%), Pat Robertson (25%), George H. W. Bush (19%), Jack Kemp (11%). Iowa 2008 (R) – Mike Huckabee (34%), Mitt Romney (25%), Fred Thompson (13%), John McCain (13%). Iowa 1992 (D) – Tom Harkin (76%), “Uncommitted” (12%), Paul Tsongas (4%), Bill Clinton (3%).

When the presumptive front-runner chokes and gets creamed in Iowa (witness Rudy Giuliani’s embarrassing 5th place finish in 2008) the Iowa results might mean something really big.  But tonight, nothing happened to really challenge Mitt Romney’s status as the presumptive Republican front runner.  Except maybe for John McCain’s endorsement.  Really helpful there, Senator.

The lesson still remains – it ain’t over ’till it’s over.

It's Romney... by a Rhino's hair
Is Iowa really "too white," "too rural"?