Republican presidential hopefuls are vying for position ahead of the Iowa caucus on January 3.
Front-runner moderate, Mitt Romney is counting on a strong showing that could set him on the path to the nomination and the chance to take on Barack Obama.
But at the back of his mind is the fact Iowa helped derail his last run for the presidency four years ago.
He has a slight edge over rival Ron Paul whose ability to give Obama a fight has been questioned by his party over his libertarian-leaning, anti-government stance.
Coming up into third with a late surge is the little known Christian conservative Rick Santorum. Until recently he was in the second tier of candidates but Iowa is known for giving lesser-funded and organised candidates a chance.
Phil Elliott, AP Political Reporter explained:
“Iowa doesn’t have a terrific record of predicting winners or losers in this state. Yes, they got Barack Obama right four years ago but they also went with Mike Huckabee. If you take a look back, it really is a mixed bag. Really, though, the elections and caucuses in Iowa serve more to get candidates out of the race than to propel anyone towards a win.”
The Iowa vote is followed by primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina on January 10 and 21.
All three are known for political upsets and have subsequently become some of the most watched events in the election process.
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