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Romney Squeaks by in Iowa Caucuses

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How the President Is Elected
The Electoral College
U.S. Presidents

January 3, 2012
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the Iowa Caucuses by an extremely narrow margin. Out of more than 100,000 votes cast, Romney got the most votes but exceeded the total of second-place vote-getter Rick Santorum by only 8 votes. The total of votes for Romney was 30,015; Santorum's total was 30,007. In third place was Ron Paul, with 26,219.

Romney, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2008, had campaigned long and hard in Iowa, a state that he believed he had to win to cast himself as the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president, a role that would see him do battle against the incumbent president, Democrat Barack Obama. Romney won more of the urban vote but far less of the counties overall.

Santorum enjoyed a late surge in popularity, thanks in large part to the public woes of other candidates, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (a distant fourth), Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and Rep. Michelle Bachmann.

Paul, known more for being a Libertarian candidate, gained a large part of the youth vote.

A caucus is something remarkably different from a primary election. People in states that have a caucus do indeed vote, but they don't cast ballots. Rather, they gather in public places (like schools, churches, and public libraries) and do more than just vote for candidates. People who attend a caucus discuss important issues for the presidential campaign and for their own state's agenda.

The next big test for the Republican candidates will be the New Hampshire primary, which takes place on January 10.

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