Iowa Republican caucus appears to be a close three way race between Ron Paul, Romney and Santorum

Realclearpolitics – Iowa entrance polls indicate a tree way race between Romney, Ron Paul and Santorum for the lead.

How much of a bump in the New Hampshire and other races will it be for Ron Paul and Santorum to do well in Iowa ?

How much will it hurt Gingrich in later races to come in fourth or fifth in Iowa ?

It seems likely that Ron Paul will at least have a competitive campaign throughout the entire process and would have hundreds of delegates at the convention. This would be important only if there is split and Romney (or one of the others) does not win an outright majority.

With 99% of precincts reported, Ron Paul will finish behind Romney and Santorum.
Santorum 24.6%
Romney 24.5%
Ron Paul 21.5%
Gingrich 13.2%

Bachman and Huntsman will drop out soon. Perry and Newt have resources to see if the next few races can bring better results.

Rick Perry has suspended his campaign after a fifth place in Iowa.

Romney, Paul, Santorum and Gingrich could all still be at the convention. If Romney stays at 22-24% then what would happen at a brokered convention ?

What is needed to impact the Convention ?

If If Ron Paul is able to win a plurality of just five delegations from any of the 50 states, Washington, D.C., or the five territories, Mr. Paul can vie for the nomination at the Republican convention in Tampa, Fla. That would allow him a seat at the table when the party decides its platform, giving him leverage to push his antiwar and antitax message.

Jesse Benton, Mr. Paul’s campaign manager, said the goal is to win the nomination or force a brokered convention. Short of that, the campaign hopes “to have a sizable chunk of delegates, enough to influence the platform and stop these big-government conservatives,” he said. The strategy runs “through the caucus states,” he said.

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