Just seven days, one week, to go before the 2012 Iowa Caucus. As the polls stand now, it is a close race between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, but more than half of the voters are undecided, still. Newt Gingrich is attempting a comeback, as is Rick Perry. Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum, whom have spent the most time in the Hawkeye State, are trying the hardest to stay relevant. Last week saw wall-to-wall negative TV ads played across Iowa against Gingrich, mostly funded by the Paul or Romney campaigns and their Super-PACs. Rick Perry′s latest TV spot goes after Congress members, particularly those current and former members now running for president. Newt is trying to stay positive in a sea of mud. Meanwhile, in the background, the Occupy Iowa Caucus gang is gearing up to disrupt the voting, even if it just to have its members cast uncommitted ballots to skew the results.
Unlike a primary election, the Iowa caucus follows some arcane rules and procedures. People gather at some 1,784 precinct caucus locations, mostly schools, churches and even residential homes. Typically, about 60 minutes is allowed for volunteers from each campaign to speak about their candidates. Then, after another hour of discussion and persuasion, those gathered vote either using a paper ballot, or in some cases, just a show of hands. The results are then reported to the media and State party officials.
A great deal depends on the so-called ′ground game′, where a campaign is organized enough to have a representative at each caucus site, as well as rounding up likely supporters to attend. The better funded and organized campaigns will even arrange transportation to ensure that supporters arrive and vote. The caucuses begin usually around 6pm CST and end by 8pm. So getting people out on a Tuesday evening after work in early January could be a challenge, especially if the weather is very bad.
With just one week left to go for the Iowa Caucus of 2012 on January 3, GOP presidential hopefuls are making their last big pitch to gain support. Ron Paul and Mitt Romney appear to be in the lead in most polls, but the majority of likely voters have yet to decide on a candidate. So there still is some hope that Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann or even Rick Santorum could make a surprise late surge and walk away with a win. One fly in the ointment may be what impact the Occupy Iowa Caucus have on the results.