No recount when the result is within 8 votes! We could easily have woken up to winner Santorum…

With just 8 votes in it our TVs could easily have been telling us that Rick Santorum was now the frontrunner

As the US presidential campaign continues to roll into progress in the minds of the political classes in Britain it has been well underway in the States for months. Possibly the most surprising aspect of the results from the Iowa Caucus last night is not that Rick Santorum came a close second, though he has spent a lot of time and money in Iowa over the past few months, it’s the fact that he wasn’t allowed to ask for a recount despite being within just 8 votes of winning.

It’s astonishing that winning 30,015 to 30,007 doesn’t strike the Republican Party that this might be within the margin of error for counting 120,000 votes.

As the Washington Post explains GOP officials see the count and as such they are verified by campaign officials from all the candidates, but even so a margin of 8 votes between two candidates polling over 60,000 votes between them would see a number of recounts in Britain with a genuine possibility of the result changing.

It’s entirely possible that instead of waking up to discover that Mitt Romney had won by a narrow margin this morning, maintaining (just) his front-runner status we would be waking up to the surprise news that Rick Santorum had achieved a shock success in the polls and was now the man to beat.

But this is not a public vote and the need to achieve party consensus in what is clearly a tricky contest for the Republicans to manage, over the future of the soul of their party, perhaps doesn’t need to be thrown into Floridian style chaos quite this early.

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2 Comments

  1. James

     /  January 4, 2012

    It doesn’t actually matter as Iowa isn’t a winner takes all process. Both Romney and Santorum (and also Paul as it happens) will get seven delegates to the Republican National Convention – Gingrich and Perry two each. In fact it’s more indirect than that as they were choosing delegates to the state convention which will then choose RNC delegates – but in practice that’s how it works out.

    Bragging rights matter of course and a narrow Santorum win would have put the gloss on a good night for him. But it isn’t even a possible Florida as nothing substantive turns on the handful of votes dividing the candidates.

    Reply
  2. James

     /  January 4, 2012

    PS. I’d compare it to a UK General Election where the 2nd and 3rd candidates are divided by a handful of votes. It’s relevant to the art and science of bar-chart-ology, and you and I would care about it, but the returning officer is well within his rights to ignore pleas for a recount as substantively it doesn’t matter.

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