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W&L Mock Convention Picks Romney in Iowa

Student organizers of Washington and Lee University’s Mock Republican Convention are predicting that Mitt Romney will win the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3 with Ron Paul and Rick Santorum finishing second and third, respectively.

On a blog post announcing the prediction, Zach Wilkes, a senior politics major from Farmerville, La., and the convention’s political chair, wrote that while their research had pointed to a Paul victory as recently as Dec. 30, their latest research from Iowa had caused them to change that prediction.

“In addition to relying on advice from contacts on the ground in Iowa and our ever-helpful group of national advisers, we have been deflating Romney poll numbers while holding Paul numbers steady to account for the intensity gap between the two candidates. However, this adjustment results in a virtual tie at the top of the ballot, and we feel that of the 9 to 14 percent of likely voters that remain undecided, many more are likely to swing to Romney than to Paul on January 3. Furthermore, trend lines indicate a steady, if relatively small, growth in Romney support over the last several days; Paul support has remained relatively constant over this period, and we believe that he is at or very near his support ceiling in Iowa.”

The post went on to note that Romney’s chances will be reduced if the Republican caucus turnout does not “approach or exceed the 120,000 who voted in 2008” but added that a favorable weather forecast plus the lack of a competitive Democratic primary suggests a relatively high turnout.

Washington and Lee University will stage its 2012 Mock Republican Convention on Feb. 10. The convention nominates its presidential candidate on February 10, 2012.

Since its inception in 1908, W&L’s convention has been considered the most realistic exercise and has also been the most accurate with 19 correct predictions in 25 attempts. Until it incorrectly chose Hillary Clinton to head the Democratic ticket in 2008, the W&L student conventioneers had been right on eight consecutive predictions.

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Jeffery G. Hanna
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